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265 Soviet soldiers remain missing in action

12 October, 2012

KABUL: As many as 265 soldiers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) -- half of them belonging to the Russian Federation -- remain missing in action since the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Moscow-based war veteran body said on Thursday.

At the beginning of the Soviet pullout in 1989, about 300 servicemen were listed as missing in action. In past years, 29 former servicemen were found alive, the Committee of Warriors-Internationalists (War Veterans Committee) said.

With the help of the committee, 22 of them voluntarily returned to their countries and seven opted for living in Afghanistan. Some of the missing servicemen had been recognised as dead after appeal to the court by relatives.

In addition to dozens of trips made to Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in search of the missing soldiers, the committee's search teams made around 15 exhumations. The remains were delivered to Russia for forensic medical examination.

"As a result of sophisticated research, five men have been identified, three from Russia and two from Kazakhstan. Other remains continue to be examined in the best laboratories of the Russian Federation," a statement from the committee said.

On Oct. 15, the committee vice-president, Alexander Lavrentyev, will give a media briefing at the Embassy of Russian Federation in Kabul Russian Ambassador A L Avetissian will co-host the press conference.

The Committee for Warriors-Internationalists was founded on March, 13, 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The principal mission of the Committee had always been providing overall assistance and care to veterans of combat action and participants of local military conflicts and their families as well as search for servicemen kept as prisoners of war or missed in action during the events in Afghanistan in 1979-1989.

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