Herat Jihad Museum 8.24.2014

Having been in Herat for several months and with the end of my tour on the horizon, I knew I wanted to visit the Jihad Museum. I had previously invited my friend Colonel Mohammed of the Counter Narcotics Police Afghanistan (CNP-A) to my camp for lunch and introduce him to the Narcotics Interdiction Unit Commander.
After lunch, we went into town to visit the Citadel (already posted on this blog). From there, we went to the Jihad Museum. Once again off we went with me as the only infidel, yet I felt completely comfortable with the Afghans. Looking Afghan helped but my M4 gave me away, not to mention the large security detail for the Colonel and the detail for the NIU commander and me.
When we arrived at the museum it was closed. Having a powerful Colonel helped to open the doors and get a private guided tour for us. I know the Afghans in our group were as excited to visit the museum as I was. They had never seen it before, even the guys from Herat. A former Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide. He explained the many battles with the Soviets as well as the weapons displays.
Fascinating parts of the museum were the dioramas. As the local population is mostly illiterate, written descriptions would be useless. So the museum utilizes many different lifelike dioramas depicting major battles to relate the history. Our Guide explained the battles to us in great detail. This museum is certainly a world class war museum. (Links below)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/world/asia/afghan-museum-recalls-a-previous-war.html?_r=0
http://www.stripes.com/news/exhibits-defused-afghanistan-s-jihad-museum-reopens-its-doors-1.250337
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/03/the-jihad-museum-afghanistan-remembers-the-soviet-invasion/100693/
A bonus highlight of the visit was meeting the infamous Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik Abdullah. Khakimov first came to Afghanistan as a Soviet intelligence officer and his mission was to kill the mujahedeen. He was wounded in battle, went missing, and ultimately was nursed back to health by an Afghan family. After recovering, he decided to remain in Afghanistan and converted to Islam. Abdullah now works at the museum. (See links below.)
http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130305/179834151/Soviet-Soldier-Missing-for-33-Years-Found-in-Afghanistan.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288544/Russian-soldier-missing-Afghanistan-33-years-FOUND-living-nomadic-sheikh-remote-Afghan-province.html
http://www.stripes.com/news/thrust-into-afghanistan-by-war-ex-soviet-becomes-a-keeper-of-its-history-1.250308

 

 

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NIU CMD,COL. Faruk, COL Mohammad with me on the first floor of the museum.

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With my two translators. They are brothers and really great guys who helped keep me safe.

With my two translators. They are brothers and really great guys who helped keep me safe.

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A former Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide.

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The NIU Commander with me.

The NIU Commander with me.

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Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik  Abdullah with me.

Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik Abdullah with me.

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This Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide

This Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide

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The NIU CMD and me. We had to wear booties over our boots to protect the marble floor.

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Captured Soviet PPSh submachine guns.

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Captured Soviet weapons.

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Old British weapons. SMLE Enfield rifles are still found on the battlefield.

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Rolling Block rifles used the fight against Communism.

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Other rifles used by the Mujahedeen against the much better armed Soviets.

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