Guerrillas Bombard Kabul, Convoy Ambushed
Nov. 06, 1985
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Moslem guerrillas rocketed the Afghan capital and Soviet and Afghan forces bombarded surrounding areas, warning people that their villages would be destroyed if they supported the rebels, sources said Tuesday.
They said a fuel convoy was ambushed north of Kabul, the capital, with many trucks reported burned, and about 100 government soldiers deserted to the insurgents in southern Afghanistan.
The sources, Western diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity, said guerrillas had fired rockets into Kabul almost every night for a week and gun battles could be heard in parts of the city.
They gave this report:
Rockets hit the city on the nights of Oct. 28, 29, 31 and six were fired into Kabul on the night of Nov. 2. At least one attack was aimed at the Soviet military air base at Kabul airport.
Information from Kabul did not include damage reports.
Soviet and Afghan government forces responded by hitting the Paghman area outside Kabul with bombing raids and fire from rocket batteries. Guerrillas often use the area as a base for attacks on the capital.
Reports from Kabul indicated that much of the fire was directed at civilian targets and residents were told their villages would be leveled if they helped the rebels.
Eight trucks were in the fuel convoy that was raided last Thursday in the Salang Pass north of Kabul, and a witness reported seeing 28 trucks ablaze.
Scattered fighting has continued in the Panjsher Valley north of Kabul, with Soviet and government units pursuing guerrillas into side valleys.
The Panjsher intersects with the border of Pakistan, where many Afghan refugee camps are located, and has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the six-year-old insurgency.
About 100 Afghan government soldiers were said to have killed an officer and deserted to the guerrillas with their weapons near Spinbaldok in southern Afghanistan on Oct. 22.
It was the second report of a large-scale army desertion in recent weeks. The other was earlier in October, in the western city of Kandahar.
Afghanistan's army is plagued by desertions and is thought to have an actual strength of about 30,000, compared with a paper figure of 80,000.
The guerrillas are fighting to oust the Communist government, which is supported by an estimated estimated 115,000 Soviet soldiers. The first Soviet units entered the country in December 1979.
Western correspondents are barred and reports from inside the country seldom can be checked independently.