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The Jihad Museum: Afghanistan Remembers the Soviet Invasion

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On February 15, 1989, just more than 25 years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its troops out of Afghanistan after 9 years of bloody conflict. In those years, Afghan Mujahedeen fighters battled Soviet soldiers and members of the communist Afghan government propped up by the USSR. Afghan wars raged on before and after the Soviet invasion, but Abdel Wahab Qattali, the founder of the People's Museum, or Manzar-e Jahad, in Afghanistan's Herat city has made it his mission to tell the story of this particular chapter. Statues, panoramas, military weapons and memorials line the museum walls and grounds, some depicting battle scenes in grisly detail. This photo essay is part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. [17 photos]

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Museum assistant and former Soviet soldier, Sheikh Abdullah looks at a display in the Manzar-e Jahad, or Jihad Museum, which depicts the Soviet invasion of 1979 and the Afghan resistance, in Herat, on February 15, 2014. Sheikh Abdullah, who was a Soviet intelligence officer by the name of Khakimov Bakhrodin, was captured after being injured in battle with the Mujahideen. Abdullah stayed with his captors, converted to Islam and was renamed Abdullah. He never returned to his former homeland and now works at the Jihad Museum. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)
Museum assistant and former Soviet soldier, Sheikh Abdullah looks at a display in the Manzar-e Jahad, or Jihad Museum, which depicts the Soviet invasion of 1979 and the Afghan resistance, in Herat, on February 15, 2014. Sheikh Abdullah, who was a Soviet intelligence officer by the name of Khakimov Bakhrodin, was captured after being injured in battle with the Mujahideen. Abdullah stayed with his captors, converted to Islam and was renamed Abdullah. He never returned to his former homeland and now works at the Jihad Museum. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)
Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah stands alongside a Soviet helicopter outside the Jihad Museum in Herat, on February 15, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan veteran and a staff member of the museum points out the names of Afghans who were killed during their fight against Russia in 1979, in Herat, on November 5, 2009. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Museum staff stand among a display of portraits of prominent commanders of the Mujahedeen in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan laborer works on a plaster statue depicting the victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, part of a display at The Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
Statues depicting the victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on display in the Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan laborer looks at statues depicting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at The Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
Detail of a tableau depicting fighting during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
Detail of a tableau depicting Afghan fighters during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah stands at a display of burning Soviet tanks in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
A staff member of the Military museum stands next to sculptures in Herat, on November 5, 2009. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A guide in the Jihad Museum describes a fight during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on August 11, 2009. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi) #
Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah walks among a display in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
Sheikh Abdullah walks among a display in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
Detail of a tableau depicting victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, part of a display at the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
A scene of Afghanistan's war against the former Soviet Union's army is portrayed in a diorama in the People's Museum, or Manzar-e Jahad, in Herat, on April 11, 2010. (Reuters/Mohammad Shoib) #
A guide in the Jihad Museum describes a fight during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in Herat, on August 11, 2009. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi) #

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