The Soviet Troops Who Stayed Behind

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John Wendle

Remember those long-ago black-and-white films of Japanese World War II soldiers blinking their way into daylight a decade or more after the war was over? They’d emerge from a cave on some Pacific atoll promising to fight on for the Emperor…

Something similar has happened in Afghanistan, among Soviet troops who decided to stay after Moscow’s ill-fated 1979 invasion ended in retreat a decade later. They tended to be deserters, MIAs, or former POWs. These guys know their war is over, but they have some fascinating observations on the U.S.-led one now roiling their adopted land.

Time’s John Wendle has the story from Kunduz.