Putin praises professionalism, courage, morale of Afghan veterans

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MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the highest professionalism, courage and morale of the Soviet troops who performed their internationalist duty in Afghanistan.

“In harsh conditions, far away from home the military and civilian specialists performed their duties with honor, safeguarded the interests of their country and in coping with major tasks demonstrated the highest professionalism and incomparable valor and morale,” Putin said in a special message published on the Kremlin’s website on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. “February 15, 1989 became an unforgettable date for all veterans and the people.”

“On that day the last convoys of armor and troops left the territory of Afghanistan and returned home,” Putin recalled.

He addressed the Afghan veterans with words of gratitude.

“These days you, veterans, do not stay aloof from matters of importance. You take an active part in the affairs of the nation and society and stay committed to your combat brotherhood baptized by fire in Afghanistan,” Putin said. “You provide support for the disabled and families of perished heroes and pay special attention to the patriotic upbringing of youth.”

The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan was completed 30 years ago today, on February 15, 1989. Over the ten years of the war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) the Soviet army carried out 416 major operations. A total of 620,000 Soviet military servicemen participated in the campaign; 15,051 of them were killed.

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