The country of Afghanistan has earned the title "The Graveyard of Empires", and rightfully so. What many people forget is that the United States wasn't the first country to go toe to toe with the Afghan people. Alexander the Great tried to control Afghanistan, as did the British in the 19th century. In the 21st century it was the Soviet Union who wished to expand their empire into what they thought would be an easily fought war to support a people who wanted to drift away from radical Islam (sound familiar?). On Christmas, 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with the invitation of the new communist government that took over the capital in Kabul. The Soviet Union wasn't prepared for the harsh Afghan environment, and the resilience of the Afghan Mujaheddin fighter whom was motivated by religion. The Soviet Union also faced difficulty because their air power was put in check by American C.I.A. operatives who trained and supplied Jihadist with Stinger Missiles. The result of this was some 15,000 Soviet Casualties with 264 Russians missing in action.
One of these Russians was found over 30 years later, in an Afghan village located near the city of Herat. He had been wounded by the Mujaheddin fighters, and later taken in by a village and nursed back to health. He since then chose to stay in the village, changed his name, converted to Islam, and took up the profession of his care taker and became the village healer. Fellow Russian veterans found him and according to the article Sheikh Abdullah (formally known as Bakhretdin Khakimov) had suffered severe head trauma from the injuries, and never tried to reach out to his family after being nursed back to health. He said that he feels lucky that he survived, and apparently enjoys his new life as a village healer.