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    23rd anniversary of Soviet pullout today

    KABUL (PAN): Twenty-three years ago, on Feb. 15, 1989, the last Soviet soldier pulled out of Afghanistan, marking the end of a decade of resistance by Afghans.

    The Soviet troops, equipped with modern weapons, invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 24, 1979 through the Hairatan dry port and installed a puppet regime in Kabul to achieve their long-term designs.

    Faced with a heroic resistance from Afghans, the Soviet invaders started withdrawing from the country on May 15, 1988. Lt. Gen. Boris V. Gromov, the commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, left the country on Feb. 15, 1989.

    “I was the last Soviet soldier who left Afghanistan. In the final movements, I felt a vacuum, because there was a dark future ahead and an unsuccessful past behind me,” Gromov said while leaving.

    During the withdrawal of Russian troops, the government of Afghanistan declared a public holiday, marking the success of the jihad that led to the disintegration of a superpower.

    About 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed and more than 35,000 wounded during the war. Also, 1.5 million Afghans were killed and thousands injured and maimed.

    Afghan writer, Mohammad Akram Andeshmand wrote in his book Years of Invasion and Resistance there were 120,000 Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan, where 14, 450 were killed, 49,983 wounded and 330 went missing.

    myn/mud



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