Afghanistan: Coming of Age In Khost

Coming of Age In Khost

The Antonov An-26 troop transport had just lumbered down the runway and taken off from Khost, near the Pakistan border, when it was blasted from the sky by mujahedin rebels. The incident, in which 37 Afghan soldiers and six crew members were killed, marked a coming of age of sorts for the mujahedin. Military analysts say the plane was the biggest prize yet claimed by the rebels' new arsenal of U.S.-made Stinger missiles.

The deadly accurate, heat-seeking Stingers, first delivered to the rebels in October, provide them with their most effective defense against Soviet air attacks. Recently, diplomatic sources in Pakistan...