Afghanistan Reversing Gears

The Soviets threaten to halt their pullout

In downtown Kabul last week, a unit of Soviet and Afghan troops paraded through the streets towing a fresh supply of SS-1 Scud missiles. Elsewhere in Afghanistan the Soviets also deployed 30 MiG-27 attack aircraft and began striking at mujahedin fighters with Backfire bombers. Why the sudden buildup? In Moscow First Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh announced that the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan "is being suspended" because of new attacks by mujahedin rebels. Blaming the U.S. and Pakistan for continuing to give arms to the guerrillas, he hinted that the original pullout deadline of Feb. 15 may not be met.


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