Guerrillas Take Another Provincial Capital
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ The capital of Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar province has fallen to Moslem guerrillas, bringing to four the provincial capitals now being held by the Afghan resistance, a guerrilla spokesman said.
Asim Nasser-Zia, a member of one of the moderate guerrilla organizations, said news of Asadabad’s fall reached the Pakistan capital early today.
The city had been under heavy seige for much of the past month. Details of the capture were sketchy, he said.
Fazle Akbar, a spokesman with the Afghan Information and Documentation Center in Pakistan’s northwest frontier city of Peshawar, said government troops had begun evacuating Asadabad last week.
Asadabad’s fall gives Afghan rebels full control of Kunar province which borders Pakistan and is a strategic link to Afghanistan’s north.
It also opens a northern route to the Afghan capital city of Kabul and gives guerrillas access to the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Asadabad sits about 12 miles from the Pakistan border and 100 miles northeast of Kabul.
Mohammad Ishaq, a member of the Hezb-E-Islami group, said Asadabad had been captured and added that rebels also overran a number of other government garrisons.
Ishaq said Pashad, a garrison town, also fell during the fighting.
Before Asadabad’s capture, rebel forces claimed they controlled Sharan, the provincial capital of southeastern Paktika, Toloqan, the capital of northeastern Takhar province and the central Bamyan provincial centre.
In the past two weeks guerrillas have chalked up several victories, including Sharan and Asadabad. The majority have been in the eastern half of the country, along the border with Pakistan.
U.S.-backed insurgents have been waging a 10-year war with the Soviet- backed government in Kabul. Red Army troops that marched into Afghanistan in December 1979 are on their way home after the signing of a U.N.-brokered accord in Geneva.
Half of an estimated 100,300 Soviet soldiers remain in Afghanistan. They are to be out by Feb. 15.