How many Soviet soldiers are still officially in Afghan captivity

History 29/12/19 How many Soviet soldiers is still officially captured in Afghanistan

which Ended 15 February 1989, the Afghan war according to various estimates killed between 15031 up to 26,000 Soviet troops. But not all those who were officially considered alive were able to return home – 417 red army was in the list of prisoners and missing persons. Over the past thirty years since the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan a number of soldiers who are still prisoners, fell by only 153 people and is 264 fighter.


From the information provided by Alexander Lavrentiev, who served as Deputy of the Committee on Affairs of soldiers-internationalists at Council of heads of governments of States members of the Commonwealth (CIS), it is clear that the search for missing Soviet troops difficult.

Of 153 soldiers, mujaheddin rescued from captivity, 130 were released at the stage of folding operation, and over the next 30 years became known the fate of the 23 people.

Part of them returned home, others remained in Afghanistan, while others were identified by the remains and removed from the list of prisoners of war and missing.


As signed the 1988 Geneva agreements were not reflected the conditions of the liberation of Soviet prisoners of war, all negotiations passed through cooperating with the authorities of the Soviet Union the governments of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

moreover, from 1992 to 2009 the Committee on Affairs of warriors-internationalists had no government funding and operated on search and rescue from captivity of former soldiers only at the expense of self-financing. According to Alexander Lavrentiev, the lion’s share of donations came from friends and acquaintances of the former President of Ingushetia Ruslan Aushev, who served in Afghanistane and honored for courage and heroism of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

Only in 2009, the Committee became sponsored by the governments of the CIS countries.

According to official statistics, 8 Soviet soldiers trapped in an Afghan prisoner who voluntarily defected to the Mujahideen and fought against the red army. 21, the soldier managed to avoid death in the camp of the enemy only after intervention of employees of the Committee to save Soviet prisoners in Afghanistan, founded in the USA in 1983 thanks to the efforts of Russian immigrants. The assistance of this organization were the prisoners who were willing, after gaining the freedom to move and live out West and become “defectors”. By the way, later three of them returned Home, after having received from the Prosecutor General of the USSR written guarantees that they will not be prosecuted.

By the way, after the collapse of the USSR in 1992, Russia and the United States established a joint Commission on POWs and missing persons, causing the American side gave Moscow information about the fate of the 163 patients remaining in Afghanistan.

a Chance to survive

a Military journalist Vladimir Snegirev, personally participated in the release of three Soviet prisoners of war, noted that to get into Afghan captivity was easy, because in this strange war was not even traditional lines. Sometimes it was enough to move away from its position just five meters or just search the store for cigarettes to be captured by the enemy and be in a terrible captivity. The fate of the army depended on many factors, including what the commander had controlled a particular district.

it is known that the warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud, chastised his soldiers for the mistreatment of prisoners of war, and especially forbade their execution.

Although this is rather the exception than the norm, since few Soviet soldiers, fallen into the hands of the enemy, was given to survive. A chance to survive, and maybe to be free, had those who by the will of fate was in the pow camp, organized on the territory of Pakistan, where they could get representatives of the red cross.

to Avoid death could and those who wanted to accept Islam, go to the service of the Mujahideen and shoot at their former countrymen. After the war they continued to live in Afghanistan, he mastered the local language and traditions, created a family with Afghan women and become valuable members of local society.

However, the majority neglected by the authorities of the Soviet Union the prisoners was expecting a painful death from sophisticated Afghan and inhuman torture.

Ashkhen Avanesova

© Russian Seven

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