Injured in 1980 while fighting for the Soviets against the Afghan Mujahideen, Sheikh Abdullah has long been presumed dead. However, he was recently discovered alive and well in Herat having converted to Islam.
Sheikh Abdullah was a Soviet intelligence officer who in 1980 was captured by the Mujahideen, presumed dead. He was discovered alive and well in Afghanistan in 2013.
Abdullah said, “In Russia I lived in Moscow. I was deployed to Afghanistan. After fighting for two years, I was injured. I was shot in the head. I collapsed unconscious to the ground. A Mujahideen commander took me to his house. I don’t know how long I was unconscious for. When I finally opened my eyes, I saw I was being cared for by the Mujahideen commander’s family.”
In 1980, a Soviet soldier named Bakhretdin Khakimov disappeared during a battle with the Afghan Mujahideen. Thirty-three years later he was discovered alive in Afghanistan under the new name of Sheikh Abdullah.
“The Mujahideen saved my life. I was unconscious so they could have easily killed me. They had the power and opportunity to kill me but they didn’t. It was a war between the poor people of Afghanistan and the Russians. The fact is that this war in Afghanistan really did happen. The Afghan people must not forget this war. I want future generations to remember the Afghan-Russian war,” he said.
Today, Sheikh Abdullah is the assistant at the Jihad Museum in Herat city, Afghanistan and is married to an Afghan woman.
“I am happily married to an Afghan woman. I like her a lot, much more than any girlfriend. Whatever a girlfriend can give you, my wife gives me more! To try and blend in, I have grown this beard. My wife wants me to shave it off. I think I will have to. I don’t want her to go and kiss someone else!” he said.
Abdullah said he has always been interested in Islam as a religion. “This is where I keep all of my books, including the Hadith and Quran. These are pictures of 24 Mujahideen martyrs.”
He said, “My brother and sister still live in Russia. They have tried to contact me, but I will never go back there. They hate that I am a Muslim convert now.”
Abdullah says the people of Afghanistan have been so welcoming to him and he never plans to return back to Russia. “I am happily married to an Afghan woman. The Afghan people are very kind. During the 18 years I lived in Russia I felt no joy or happiness in my life. However, I have felt it here,” he said.
This is the script of a NATOChannel story by Jack Somerville