Soviet Soldier Assured of Safety, Leaves U.S. Embassy in Kabul

United Press International

A young Soviet soldier who sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan last week left voluntarily today after the Soviet ambassador promised that he would not be punished, the State Department said.

Alexander Sukhanov, 19, signed a brief statement in Russian that said he made his decision “of his own free will and and wants to go home,” a department official said. He then left the embassy with the Soviet ambassador to Afghanistan.

“We can confirm that he left on his own volition but only after assurances from the U.S. government that he could stay if he wished to,” a State Department spokesman said.


The soldier, one of the more than 100,000 Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan, walked into the embassy compound in Kabul on Thursday. Soviet and Afghan troops ringed the embassy, and authorities turned off electricity, prompting U.S. protests to both governments.

Officials said that after the soldier’s departure, troops were withdrawn and power was restored at the embassy compound.

Officials described the soldier as homesick for the Soviet Union and tired of the war. They said he did not request political asylum. “I don’t like this war,” the soldier told them. “I want to go home.”