More than three decades ago, Soviet soldier Bakhretdin Khakimov went missing in Afghanistan after he was wounded in battle with Afghan mujahedeen forces.
His whereabouts remained unknown until two weeks ago, when he was tracked down by a team from the Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, a Moscow-based nonprofit that looks for Soviet MIAs in Afghanistan.
Now a widower, he goes by Sheikh Abdullah and works as a traditional healer in Shindand District of Herat province in western Afghanistan.
As a soldier in a motorized rifle unit, Khakimov had “received a heavy wound to the head in the course of a battle in Shindand District in September 1980 when he was picked up by local residents,” the organization said in a statement posted on its website.
Rather than return to his unit, Khakimov decided to stay, changing his name, converting to Islam and eventually marrying an Afghan woman.
“He now leads a semi-nomadic life with the people who sheltered him,” the organization says. . .