AFGHANISTAN: Ripe Apple in the Hindu Kush

Radical nonalignment poses a dilemma for the West

Feudal and remote, Afghanistan has long defended its independence by playing off ambitious foreign powers against one another. Now it is more deviously threatened as the Soviet Union attempts to become the dominant political force by offering increased trade and aid to its weak southern neighbor. The opportunity arose after April's bloody coup replaced the nepotistic regime of President Mohammed Daoud with the shakily neutralist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. If Soviet influence succeeds in vaulting the towering Hindu Kush mountains, Afghanistan would provide...

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