Left Behind*

by Joshua Foust on 7/1/2007 · 2 comments

Via Afghanistanica (who includes a really interesting bit on “going native” and which degrees are really useful versus simply indulgent), I found this NPR piece on a Ukrainian soldier who decided to stay behind in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal:

Tseuma was born in what is now Ukraine. He first came to Afghanistan in 1983 as an 18-year-old conscript in the Soviet army. Less then a year later, mujahedeen fighters took him prisoner, and he has stayed in the country ever since…

After the Soviets left, a mujahedeen commander “gave” Tseuma a young Afghan wife. He started working as a truck driver.

He didn’t believe the Berlin wall had fallen when contacted by a western reporter in 1991, at least at first. But even Tseuma (or Nik, as he has become known) is worried the war might get bad again. And he will dump himself—gimp leg and all—into the Amu Darya to escape it.

*I don’t want to reference the terrible apocalypse series, but I couldn’t think of anything else.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Nick July 2, 2007 at 4:56 am

Actually, I thought you might be referencing some Government social policy or another:

It Takes a Village to do Hillary’s Hair, oops, I mean, Leave No Child Behind.

Joshua Foust July 2, 2007 at 4:58 am

Nick, I think your idea is much wittier.

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