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No Advisers in Afghanistan, Pentagon Says

December 28, 1987|Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department today denied a Soviet report that at least one U.S. military adviser had been killed in recent fighting in Afghanistan.

"We have heard reports concerning an incident of that nature. However, there are no U.S. military advisers in Afghanistan," the department said in a statement.

The word "no" was underlined.

The Soviet press agency Tass said "at least one American adviser" had been killed in Afghanistan during fighting between Afghan government troops and Muslim rebel forces around the eastern garrison town of Khost.

Tass quoted Afghan Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Nabi Azimi as telling a news conference in Kabul on Sunday that the American was killed during fighting for the road between Kabul and the provincial capital, Gardez.

"Enemy losses reached 1,500, including killed, wounded, taken prisoner or fled. Among the dead was at least one American adviser," Tass said, without giving details.

The United States acknowledges providing weapons to the guerrillas, including shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, but no reports of U.S. advisers in Afghanistan have been confirmed.

Kabul Radio reported on Sunday that a prolonged rebel siege of Khost had been broken by a government offensive, and said the road to Gardez was open to normal traffic.

But guerrilla spokesmen said that the fighting was still going on and that government troops were far from Khost.

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