Jalaluddin Syed Muhamed Asan is an ethnic Afghan who chose Ukraine as his home 25 years ago. At one time, the hero served in the Afghan special forces, had rich military experience, fought against the Taliban, who made life in the country unbearable. Later, Johnny and his family decided to leave Afghanistan and moved to Ukraine.
Johnny worked in Kyiv as a security guard, founded his uniform, got married, had a daughter. When the Russians encroached on Ukrainian land nine years ago, an Afghan soldier volunteered to defend it.
Even then he was spoken of as a brave and courageous warrior. And for the second time, Johnny joined the ranks of the Armed Forces during the full-scale offensive of neighboring Russia, but died. Here is the story of John and the memories of his friends and comrades.
“I served in the special forces in Afghanistan, and in Ukraine I was a bodyguard”
An Afghan with the nickname “Johnny” came to Ukraine in 1998 with his sister. He grew up in a large family, himself originally from Kabul. It is known that he has a sister and two brothers.
|Jalaluddin Syed Muhamed Asan is an ethnic Afghan who chose Ukraine as his home 25 years ago
The man’s father died during the Afghan war. Life in his native country was extremely difficult due to constant clashes with the Taliban group. The whole family and Johnny left Afghanistan. The hero’s mother and sister moved to Ukraine, and the brothers moved to Poland and Canada.
“I met Johnny in 2005, when I first came to Kyiv. He was my closest friend, we often spent time. Johnny worked as a security guard at the Hydropark, then became the head of security. He was also a bodyguard for one of the people’s deputies. He was courageous and responsible. He served in the special forces in Afghanistan, was an athlete. Later, he founded his own security company in Kyiv.” – recalls Najip, the hero’s closest friend.
Johnny managed to arrange a personal life in Ukraine. He married and raised a daughter. He was engaged in sports and performed in various countries of the world at wrestling competitions, won prizes, and was always ready to help. Already on the first day of the full-scale invasion, Johnny made sure that his Ukrainian family was safe abroad, and he himself went to the military commissar.
“He was for me more than a friend, like a brother, never left me in trouble. Johnny went through the entire Revolution of Dignity, was in the anti-terrorist operation, and OOS – and then was an active volunteer. He had a lot of military experience. He knew what the honor of an officer is not by word of mouth. When the full-scale war started on February 24, I called him and asked what to do. He suggested leaving Ukraine.
I refused, saying that if you don’t go and I won’t go. Johnny went to the military commissariat, I followed him and did it on February 25. He loved me very much and asked me not to join the army, but to become his volunteer, because he needed me more in the rear than in the war. So, from February 27, I started helping the 112th brigade of the TRO, where Johnny went. I brought them everything they needed. I know, Johnny himself often spent his military salary to help his brothers, buy better shoes or necessary things.” Najip says.
“Always observed fasting”
Friends remember that Johnny was fond of hunting and kept to his traditions. Right in the trench, he read namaz – the Muslim prayer – several times a day. And Johnny kept a strict fast during Ramadan. He woke up at 5 in the morning. He spent the whole day training in the forest and did not drink water or eat anything until sunset, but skillfully performed all the tasks assigned to him. Never complained.
Johnny loved to cook. Our soldiers really liked the pilaf he cooked in the field kitchen. They say, they couldn’t find anything tastier anywhere. Among Ukrainian dishes, Johnny preferred borscht the most.
“Johnny was interested in our traditions, dishes, and we were interested in learning something about his country. In conversations, he said: “let’s end the war in Ukraine, I hope the Afghan people will throw off the Taliban yoke.” He promised to show me the mountains of Afghanistan and go hunting together, – led by Serhii Yurczyk, the brother of the hero, – He took care of our company like a father. I remember once we had to go on a reconnaissance mission. Johnny said he would go first. Then, thanks to him, we returned alive from this task.”
|Already on the first day of the full-scale invasion, Johnny made sure that his Ukrainian family was safe abroad, and he himself went to the military commissar
“He was in armor for almost 42 days”
Johnny always carried the flag of Ukraine and Afghanistan with him. He served in the Kyiv region for almost a year. Then he went to Germany to learn how to control Leopard tanks. After completing the training, the tanker was almost immediately transferred to the Zaporizhzhia region.
The brothers remember that Johnny tried to save everyone from death, and was in the battered “Bradley” until the last one, evacuating all the wounded. Johnny died as an Afghan knight and at the same time a hero of the 46th separate airmobile brigade.
“The last time we spoke to Johnny was on Friday, July 15, at seven o’clock in the evening. He asked for prayers for him, because he had to go on an important assignment the next day at 4 in the morning. He promised that he would call right after. On Saturday, he did not go out to connection, on Sunday too, and then his friend called and said Johnny was gone.” Najip says.
“Johnny carried out the wounded to the last. We went on the attack, took enemy positions. The enemy is stubborn, there was heavy fighting all day. Johnny was in charge of the Bradley, his task was to carry out the wounded and deliver resources and help. His Bradley was hit twice by the enemy . The crew survived, all the wounded were able to evacuate. Johnny was driving the car. He stayed there. His last words on the radio were: “It’s Johnny, I’m dead!” The guys looked through the window of the machine and saw his body, already lifeless “, – Bohdan Makogon adds to the fellow hero.
Because of the heavy shelling, Johnny’s body could not be taken away immediately. He was in the tank for almost 42 days. Only later did the comrades manage to take the crashed “Bradley” and along with it the body of the soldier of the Armed Forces. Johnny was buried in the capital, next to his mother. By the way, Johnny was awarded the “Badge of Honor” in November 2022.
“Johnny was 46 years old. I remember we had a conversation where he said that he could die, he knew that in war anything is possible. That’s why he asked to be buried next to his mother. She died in 2015. There was a free place, and Johnny bought a plot of land for himself. I promised him that I would bury him near his mother. He warned the commander that his body should be given to me.
Time passes, and I still have a hard time without him. For me, he is not dead, I go to his grave every day, look and clean it. Johnny was really bright and never wished harm on anyone, did not take offense at people, always believed in the best, and he loved Ukraine very much.” Najip summarizes.
Lesia Rodina, specially for UP. Life