Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Tips for Soviets in Afghanistan

Booklet for Soviet Soldiers in Afghanistan

A booklet produced in 1987 told Soviet soldiers how to behave in Afghanistan. The last Soviet soldier left Afghan territory on 15 February 1989.

An appeal to Soviet duty

"The Internationalist soldier must always hold high the honour of the Soviet citizen."

Don't trust the locals

"The Internationalist soldier is forbidden to enter into unsanctioned relationships!" In fact, while soldiers admitted that it was easy to fall into a trap, few avoided social contact with locals.

Don't buy from the locals

Soldiers "must never visit" local shops or stalls. According to accounts, anything from Japanese watches to machine guns were on sale, and while alcohol was rare, hashish was easy to buy.

No sunning or sunbathing

"The Internationalist soldier should not undress, sunbathe or swim in the presence of local people... because such behaviour... is considered offensive."

Soldiers must not look at the local women

Soldiers were forbidden from looking at the faces of women or from starting conversations with them.

Don't take gifts from the locals

The pamphlet said soldiers must not take gifts and bribes from local leaders. Soldiers said sometimes it was difficult to refuse them.

Be careful what you say in public

Soldiers must "observe a regime of secrecy" and be careful who was listening, the pamphlet said. Many Afghans spoke good Russian, although they often tried not to show it.



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