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January 15, 1986

Twenty Soviet soldiers who refused to join Afghan troops in fighting Muslim rebels were executed in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar last month, Western diplomats said in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Soviet soldiers apparently feared that the Afghan troops would defect to the rebels once fighting started, the diplomats said, quoting reports from the Afghan capital. The diplomats also reported such a defection, saying that 400 Hazara Shia tribesmen, given assault rifles and six months' pay in early December to work as pro-government militiamen, went over to the rebel side near the southeastern city of Ghazni. The reports could not be confirmed.

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