Afghanistan: Barrage and Counterbarrage

The rebels keep the heat on a key Soviet garrison

Nearly seven years after the Soviet Union sent 80,000 troops into Afghanistan to install a more compliant puppet regime in the capital of Kabul, fighting throughout the country, though still indecisive, has grown more intense than ever. A few months ago, heavy Soviet offenses had pushed the resistance to the brink of collapse. Recently, however, the anti-Communist mujahedin rebels have struck back with some of their most punishing assaults of the war so far.

Typical of the seesaw battle has been the fight for Barikot, a garrison just across the border from the Pakistani town of Arandu. Barikot is a major...

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