KABUL, Afghanistan — The first Soviet army unit to leave the Afghan capital of Kabul, a convoy of 500 men, departed for the northern border today as Moscow's withdrawal from Afghanistan continued. A second unit is to follow within three days.
The convoy of about 100 vehicles left the Soviet army camp of Khair Khana in northern Kabul after a ceremony in which they were presented with garlands by local residents.
Scores of Afghans, including men wearing traditional turbans and schoolgirls dressed in gray uniforms, came to say goodby, tossing flowers on the tanks.
Standing or seated in their tanks and armored personnel carriers, the Soviet soldiers in bush hats gazed impassively at the scene.
A similar convoy of about 500 Kabul-based Soviet soldiers will leave Aug. 11, a Soviet army officer said. He said the group that left today, heading northward on the Salang road, is expected to cover the 320 miles to the Soviet border in about two days.
Foreign analysts said Soviet forces are unlikely to withdraw completely from the Afghan capital for the time being, however.