Soviet soldier who stayed back after Red Army’s defeat in Afghanistan dies

By Muslim Mirror Network

A former Soviet soldier who chose to stay in Afghanistan when the Red Army withdrew following a disastrous decade-long occupation that ended in 1989 has died, officials said.

Bakhretdin Khakimov, who was thought to be in his 60s and was known as Sheikh Abdullah, died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a leaking heater in the western city of Herat, they said on Wednesday.

“He died from inhaling gas that comes out of heaters,” Ahmad Shah Mushfiq, head of Herat’s forensic department, told the AFP news agency, adding that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid offered his condolences to Abdullah’s family.

“He came to Afghanistan with former Soviet forces and was taken prisoner,” Mujahid said in a tweet.

“He later became a Muslim, got married here, and lived in Herat.”

‘Afghans are very kind’

Abdullah was an officer in the military intelligence wing of the Soviet army, which occupied Afghanistan for 10 years after invading in 1979.

He was injured in battle around 1985, suffering a serious head wound, he told AFP in an interview in 2015. He said he owed his life to his Afghan enemies, who found him and treated him.

“I feel very ashamed because I damaged this country, caused losses to people,” he said at the time.

“I stayed in Afghanistan because Afghans are very kind and hospitable people.”

In recent years Abdullah, bearded and usually dressed in traditional Afghan attire, worked at a museum in Herat and also as a healer.

“He was a good man, a good Muslim,” friend Saeed Ghulam Hassan told AFP.

After invading on Christmas Eve in 1979, the Red Army pulled out a decade later having lost nearly 15,000 troops fighting Western-backed Mujahideen forces. The war also cost the lives of more than a million Afghans.

The Soviet defeat precipitated a civil war which gave rise to the Taliban and its first and short stint in power from 1996 to 2001 when US ousted it following 9/11 attacks.

Taliban rose back to power after US troops vacated Afghanistan in August 2021, bringing an end to America’s longest war after a chaotic and violent troop pullout. (Source: AFP)

Also read-


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Stories

Two years of power: Taliban must earn legitimacy through diplomacy now

By Latheef Farook After more than four decades of foreign occupation , death and destruction, landlocked mountainous country of Afghanistan ,bordering Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan...

At least 13 dead after earthquake jolts Afghanistan, Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan/NEW DELHI : A powerful earthquake jolted parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on Tuesday evening, with at least four confirmed dead in...
Afghan Women

Top UN female diplomat urges Muslim nations to remind Taliban of women’s rights in...

UNITED NATIONS : The UN’s deputy secretary-general called on Muslim nations Wednesday to remind Afghanistan's de facto authorities, the Taliban, that women have rights...

Russia claims US left Afghanistan to focus on Ukraine

MOSCOW : The US left Afghanistan to focus on training of the Ukrainian army for an offensive on Russia, the Russian security chief said...

Israel has arrested 3,390 Palestinians in West Bank since Oct. 7: NGOs

RAMALLAH, Palestine : Israeli forces have detained 3,390 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank since Oct. 7, including 260 during humanitarian pauses,...

Israel has destroyed over 60% of houses in Gaza Strip: Gaza government

GAZA CITY, Palestine : The Israeli army has destroyed more than 60% of the homes and residential units in the Gaza Strip, the government...

Turkey stands with Palestine’s struggle for freedom, says Turkish first lady

ISTANBUL : Turkey stands with Palestine's struggle for freedom, Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan said Wednesday as she marked the International Day of Solidarity...

Justice collapsed and United Nations died on 29 November 1947 when Israel was created in Palestine

By Latheef Farook November 29 marks the day when the United Nations, under pressure from US, Britain and Europe, divided Palestine and created an artificial...

Hamas onslaught was originally planned for April 5

Tel Aviv : Hamas had initially planned its October 7 cross-border onslaught for the eve of Passover, but cancelled the attack after Israel raised...