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History

Imran Zakhaev was a high-level black market arms dealer in Russia for many years during the Cold War.  He was a very powerful man with an entire mercenary army at his disposal, and he had an astounding range of weaponry available to him. He saw the fall of the USSR as a opportunity to persuade former Soviet soldiers into joining his Ultranationalist Party.  It is because of the threat he posed to world peace that a 2-man S.A.S. team consisting of Cpt. MacMillan and Lt. Price were assigned to assassinate him.  During an exchange in the abandoned city of Prypiat, Ukraine, Zakhaev is shot from the top of a hotel by Lt. Price.  Due to wind speed and the long range of the shot, the bullet misses its mark and, instead of striking his head, hits Imran in the left shoulder, severing his arm completely.  Although he is presumed dead because of the resulting shock and loss of blood,  Zakhaev turns out to have survived the attempt.  After hiding from world powers for 15 years, he eventually uses his vast army and weapons resources to declare war on the Russian government and initiate the events of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Russian Civil War

The role of Zakhaev in the conflicts of Call of Duty 4 is more significant than it was 15 years prior.  Aside from commanding the Russian Ultranationalist army, he has secretly dealt with Middle Eastern militant leader Khaled Al-Asad, providing various kinds of support to that man's efforts to overthrow his own government.  Imran makes his first appearance in the game during the opening cinematic, when Al-Asad broadcasts the execution of President Al-Fulani on television.  He can be seen in the background behind Khaled, probably there to demonstrate his support of the coup.  In fact, it is Zakhaev's own son, Victor, who escorts the president to the execution arena.  Later on, a large amount of U.S. Marines are killed in the detonation of a nuclear bomb, which was provided by Zakhaev.
 
Imran does not return to playing an integral part in the story until Al-Asad's capture by the S.A.S.  While Cpt. Price is interrogating Al-Asad in order to find out who supplied the bomb, Zakhaev calls Al-Asad's cell phone.  Price answers the phone, and immediately receives the information he was seeking.  It is at this point that Cpt. Price goes on to recount the events of the assassination mission that had supposedly been a success.  Once realizing that Zakhaev must be stopped before gaining more power, the British S.A.S. unites with the American Marine Force Recon in a joint operation to find and eliminate Zakhaev.  In order to locate him, they track down his son Victor, hoping to use him to get the information they need.  However, Victor commits suicide when cornered on a rooftop.  
 
This outrages Zakhaev, who retaliates by launching nuclear ICBMs at the East Coast of the United States.  The joint operation teams infiltrate the launch center and abort the launch with only a short time left, though Zakhaev uses his remaining military assets to try to trap them in the base.  They make an escape, and are pursued while heading toward Russian Loyalist  territory.  One of Zakhaev's helicopters destroys a bridge ahead of them, after which they must make their way on foot.  When a damaged tanker on the bridge explodes, many of the team's members are wounded, and Zakhaev himself walks into their midst to finish them off.  After likely helping to kill SSgt. Griggs, Zakhaev then proceeds to execute Gaz.  When about to continue with Sgt. MacTavish, Loyalist jets destroy his helicopter overhead.  In this moment of distraction, Cpt. Price slides a pistol to MacTavish, who uses it to kill Imran's two bodyguards.  When Zakhaev turns back to face him, the 15 year-old mission is finally completed.

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