Afghan Spy Agency Wages Terror Campaign in Pakistan
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Bombs planted by the Afghan intelligence agency, created and run by the Soviet KGB, have killed more than 400 civilians in Pakistan, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.
Pakistan has balked at signing a United Nations-brokered deal calling for an end to covert U.S. aid to Afghan guerrillas at the same time that Moscow stops aiding the the Kabul regime.
″The bombings definitely have people worried. They are designed to get Pakistan to sign the Geneva agreement. But the government has stuck to its position,″ said a Pakistani official. He, like U.S. intelligence sources interviewed about the bombings, spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Afghan Ministry for State Security, or WAD, ″is a mirror image of the KGB,″ combining domestic and foreign intelligence activities with military functions, said one U.S. intelligence analyst.
A State Department report issued last year said WAD had 20,000 agents, although some U.S. and Pakistani officials put the number at 30,000. WAD has its own uniformed military units and assigns officers to regular military units to bolster discipline, according to the State Department.
WAD has 1,500 advisers from the KGB, which has run it since since shortly after the coup that brought Marxists to power in April 1978, the sources said.
The most recent terrorist episode was last Thursday, when a bomb exploded in a poultry shop near the Afghan border, killing seven people and injuring 18.
The bloodiest incident was last July 14, when three car bombs exploded at the main bazaar of Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, killing 72 and injuring 260.
WAD staged about a dozen bombings inside Pakistan in 1985, 20 in 1986, and more than 100 in 1987, said a second U.S. analyst. ″They are continuing at about the same rate this year.″
Among recent bombings attributed to WAD:
-Feb. 22, one person was killed and two others were hurt by a bomb in a popular hotel in Bajaur in the Northwest Frontier Province.
-Feb. 23, a boy was killed by a bomb in his home in Bajaur. The same day, another bomb destroyed a shop owned by an Afghan refugee in the city.
-Feb. 27, five people were killed and 11 injured by a bomb in a motorcycle in a in the main bazaar in Thal, a refugee center in the Northwest Frontier Province.
-March 1, two people were killed and two others were injured when a bomb exploded in Peshawar, a city in northern Pakistan crowded with Afghan refugees.
-March 18, a letterbox exploded at a bus station, in Rawalpindi, setting fire to an empty bus.
-March 25, nine people were injured, one critically, by a bomb at a bus stand in Rawalpindi.
Diplomats at the Afghan Embassy in Washington declined to comment on WAD or any other subject.
The bombings started in 1985, about when Mikhail S. Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and the current Afghan leader, known by the single name of Najibullah, left the Afghan intelligence agency to become secretary in the ruling party, say U.S. and Pakistani sources.
Najibullah, trained as a physician in Kabul, became party leader in 1986 and head of state last year. Col. Geb. Ghulam Farouq Yaqubi now runs WAD, which until last year was known as the Committee for State Security, or KHAD.
″Clearly, sometime in 1985, Moscow decided it had to increase pressure on Pakistan, and began cross-border air raids″ in Afghan warplanes piloted by Soviets and Afghans, said one U.S. government source.
But the air raids ″backfired,″ said the source. The United States came very close to selling Pakistan high-technology Airborne Warning and Control (AWACs) planes to track the intruders, a sale that was opposed by India, a friend of the Soviet Union and an enemy of Pakistan.
Instead, WAD ″stepped up the terror bombing, and there hasn’t been so much of a reaction,″ said the source.
The initial bombings were aimed at the 3 million Afghan refugees who live just inside Pakistan, crossing the border to wage their guerrilla war against the estimated 115,000 Soviet troops backing the Kabul regime.
The campaign became more serious, said a Pakistani official, when the bombs began to explode in major cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore, far from the refugees, deep in the heart of Pakistan.
Afghan intelligence, under Soviet tutelage, recruits agents to plant the bombs, which analysts describe as ″crude,″ and consisting in part of Soviet- made components.
″We have arrested a lot of these guys, and they say they are paid by the Kabul government,″ said the Pakistani official. ″They include Pakistanis and Afghans,″ who are drawn from the same ethnic groups and cross the border easily, he said.
For each bombing, they are paid several hundred dollars, ″a huge amount of money″ in such an impoverished area, said the official. ″For killing, they get more.″