The mayor of Kabul condemned the nine-year Soviet intervention in Afghanistan as unnecessary in what diplomats called the first such direct criticism by an official of the Soviet-backed government. Abdul Karim Misaq told reporters in Kabul that "it is an Afghan tradition to fight against foreign intruders" and it was "natural that . . . the Afghan people resisted" Soviet troops. Misaq was jailed for two years after the 1979 Soviet invasion, and spent most of the 1980s as a short-story writer. Rehabilitated after the Soviet troop pullout in February, he became mayor of Kabul in August.