KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government reported Saturday that its troops, backed by tanks and artillery, have advanced farther toward the Pakistani border, destroying guerrilla bases and killing 81 insurgents.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Nabi Amani said the Afghan army, on the fourth day of an offensive, advanced two miles and was 32 miles from the border.
Amani said government troops are in complete control of Jalalabad and surrounding hills, giving them a strategic advantage over the rebels. Jalalabad, on the main route from Kabul to Pakistan, is 75 miles east of the Afghan capital and 45 miles west of the border.
U.S.-backed guerrillas based in Pakistan claimed to have recaptured a garrison near Jalalabad that they lost Thursday.
The Muslim guerrillas said they stalled the government offensive Friday after losing the strategic Samarkhel garrison on the city's outskirts. On Saturday, the guerrillas' Afghan Information and Documentation Center based in Peshawar and the Afghan News Agency both reported that the insurgents recaptured the garrison.
The guerrillas have tried since March to capture Jalalabad, the country's fifth-largest city. It would provide them a seat for a guerrilla government they formed in Pakistan.
The insurgents attacked Jalalabad on March 7 in their first major assault after the withdrawal of Soviet military forces from Afghanistan was completed Feb. 15.
The guerrillas began fighting after a Marxist coup in April, 1978, and Soviet forces intervened in December, 1979, to back the government.