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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December 2004, 14:22 GMT
Moscow's Afghan war: The mother's story
Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979, launching a war which lasted a decade. The BBC has spoken to people on both sides about a conflict which marked their lives.

V Grigoryev
Soviet interpreter:

Karl Paks
Soviet sapper:

N Akhadova
Soviet mother:

S Tursunova
Soviet nurse:

Jason Elliot
British mujahid:

Gelalei Habib
Afghan teacher:

Afghan refugee:

Omar Nessar
Afghan editor:

Nafisakhon Akhadova

Uzbek Nafisakhon Akhadova's son, a child she had longed for all her life, was killed serving with the Soviet military during the war.

Nafisakhon Akhadova
Nafisakhon Akhadova came home from work to her son's coffin

I am from a village in Fergana district in Uzbekistan. It was my fate in life to have 10 children who died when they were very small. My eleventh child was a boy and he was killed in Afghanistan.

He went off to do his military service in 1985. After eight months they sent him home to me in a sealed zinc coffin.

I begged them to let me open the coffin but they said I was not allowed to. But I insisted and eventually after I had asked them so many times, they gave in and allowed me to see him, but just his face, nothing more.

I touched his face. You could see the wounds. He had scars around his eyes. It was really only at the moment that I understood that he was gone forever.

Afterwards they told me what had happened to him. He was a medic and he had been in the hospital treating a patient. He had just started bandaging someone when the mujahideen attacked. There were 17 patients in the hospital. They killed them all, and my son with them.

Some reinforcements were sent in to help them but they arrived too late. If they had been there just five minutes earlier my son might still have been alive today.

I was at work when I got the news. By the time I got home they had already brought the coffin. I just did not know what to do with myself.

Allah gave me a son and Allah took him away. What can you do? I still grieve for him.

Interviewed by BBC World Service.

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