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Missing soldier found in Afghanistan 33 years after disappearance



Missing Soviet soldier found in Afghanistan 33 years after disappearance

A missing Soviet soldier has been discovered living in Afghanistan, 33 years after he first disappeared. The soldier named Bakhretdin Khakimov had fought in the Soviet war in Afghanistan but disappeared after he was seriously injured during a battle near the city of Herat in 1980.

Soviet authorities presumed he had died of his wounds so, when they finally pulled out of Afghanistan nine years later, he was forgotten. At the time he went missing, Bakhretdin Khakimov was just 22 years old.

More than 30 years later, the Moscow-based Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, an organization set up to find Soviet soldiers who disappeared during and after the country's wars, found Khakimov still living near Herat and working as a traditional healer. His Afghan name is Sheikh Abdullah.

When asked what had happened, he told Russian officials residents from Herat had taken him from the battlefield and saved his life with herbal remedies. He went on to not only remain with one of the Afghan men who helped him, but to learn everything the man knew about herbal healing. He eventually married an Afghan woman but his wife has since died.

There isn't any word as to whether Khakimov would like to return to Samarkand, the city in Uzbekistan he is originally from, but he has said he would love to meet any remaining family members if it wouldn't upset them too much.

Khakimov is the eight Soviet soldier to have been found alive in Afghanistan in recent years, but 263 more are still missing.

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