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Afghans Protest Soviet Intervention : Demonstrations Mark 8th Anniversary of Kremlin Move

December 28, 1987|From Times Wire Services

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Thousands of Afghan refugees chanted "Death to Russia!" and burned effigies of Mikhail S. Gorbachev at rallies in Pakistan marking the eighth anniversary Sunday of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

In the Iranian city of Esfahan, several Afghans were injured and arrested Sunday when they stormed the Soviet Consulate, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. There was no independent confirmation of the incident, in which several security personnel also were reportedly injured.

And there were calls Sunday in India, West Germany and Britain for a Soviet withdrawal as Moscow remained silent over what some have called the Soviet Union's Vietnam War.

Rally in New Delhi

In New Delhi, about 1,000 Afghans held a rally near Parliament. "While one Russian remains in Afghanistan, we will not end our struggle," said Malyer Mohammed, one of the organizers.

"Afghanistan is (an) important test of Soviet good faith," British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe said in London. "We in the European Community and the rest of the world look to the Soviet Union to withdraw all their troops in 1988 according to an agreed timetable. Only this can end the misery of Afghanistan."

"The Soviet leadership can be happy the war crimes laws they helped draft at Nuremberg won't be applied to them," Juergen Todenhoefer, a political ally of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and a visitor to Afghanistan in 1980 and 1984, said in West Germany.

Afghan rebel press reports Sunday said guerrillas carried out raids throughout Afghanistan and cut power lines in Kabul. The rebels also reported fierce fighting on the road to Gardez, along which supplies have been moving toward an encircled Soviet garrison at Khost, 20 miles from the Pakistan border.

But the official Kabul radio said the 80-mile-long road has been secured and is open to normal traffic.

A gathering in Peshawar drew up to 100,000 refugees who listened as Afghan Muslim guerrilla leaders spoke at length about Soviet occupation and a future Muslim government to replace the Communist government in Kabul.

About 130 miles away, in the capital city of Islamabad, 5,000 Afghans marched through the streets waving their fists, shouting "Death!" and burning the Soviet leader in effigy.

Two young girls led the way there with a green flag reading "Allahu Akbar (God is great)." Nearly 500 teen-agers wore white headbands with "Freedom or Martyrdom" hand-printed on them.

The anniversary came the day after three bomb blasts killed one person and injured 40 people in Islamabad. The Pakistani government warned of attacks by agents of the Afghan government, and strict security measures were in force at the rallies.

Except for a few chants of anti-Soviet slogans, the gathering in Peshawar was quiet. Buses brought the refugees to the Chamkani area on the outskirts of this city of about 550,000.

Intervention in 1979

About 3.5 million Afghan refugees have settled in Pakistan since Dec. 27, 1979, when Soviet troops entered Afghanistan to help the Communist government against anti-Marxist, Islamic guerrillas. All major Afghan guerrilla groups are based in Pakistan. The United States, China and Pakistan are the three biggest backers of the insurgents.

Clergyman Younis Khalis, leader of the seven-party Afghan opposition alliance based in Peshawar, said in his speech that the alliance is "ready to seriously consider a Soviet proposal for direct talks with the moujahedeen (guerrillas)."

The Soviets, however, have not proposed such an idea.

He said the guerrillas will continue fighting the Soviets and the Afghan government until the Soviets leave Afghanistan and a pure Islamic order is established.

In Islamabad, many Afghan guerrillas, in wheelchairs from war wounds, were brought to the front of the march. Scores of Soviet flags were set afire, along with the Gorbachev effigies.

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