He Left Soviet Army for Afghan Life 35 Years Ago. Now, He Sees Russians Return

He Left Soviet Army for Afghan Life 35 Years Ago. Now, He Sees Russians Return.
“I wrote a letter to my mother,” says a man who exchanged a Soviet Army uniform for life in Afghanistan. “I wrote about myself. I said, ‘Mom, this is what happened to me.’ She wrote back, and said, ‘I cried and cried.’”

The New York Times

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — When the Soviet Army pulled out of Afghanistan decades ago, it left behind rusty tanks, the wreckage of helicopters and a Ukrainian man who now goes by the name Nek Mohammad.

On Feb. 15, 1989, the last Soviet commanding general in Afghanistan, Boris V. Gromov, walked alone behind the last armored column as it rumbled across a bridge out of the country, and declared that Russia was done here. “That’s it,” General Gromov told a television crew. “Not one Soviet soldier is behind my back.”

In fact, 226 soldiers remained, according to the Russian Cultural Center in Kabul — men who were either still prisoners or had deserted. Mr. Mohammad was one of them, and he has now lived here long enough to see Russia seemingly drawn back into Afghan intrigue.

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