Watch part two
More than 600,000 troops participated in the Soviet Union's decade-long war in Afghanistan, the USSR's largest military operation since the Second World War.
Yet for many in modern Russia, and in other former Soviet countries, the conflict is one they would rather forget and is regarded with humiliation.
Al Jazeera found that many of those who returned alive are still disappointed by the lack of support they received and continue to bear the psychological scars from a conflict sometimes rferred to as the USSR's "Vietnam".
Veterans: Soviets in Afghanistan can be seen from Thursday, December 24, 2009 at the following times GMT: 1630; Friday: 0130, 0830; Saturday: 1130 and 2330.
Source: Al Jazeera