The latest reports from Afghanistan are of new major offensive against rebel forces by Soviet and Afghan government troops.
GV PAN & CU Kabul street scene with people walking past camera (2 shots)
LV PAN & CU INTERIOR Factory workers operating lathe and other machinery (2 shots)
TV & SV PAN Workers armed with automatic weapons patrolling outside factory (2 shots)
CU & LV PAN Crowds board buses, buses through streets (3 shots)
SV ZOOM IN TO CU Men selling grapes on roadside
SV & CU INTERIOR Farmworkers attending meeting held by local government official (3 shots)
GV Man ploughing with bullocks
GV PAN Over tilled earth to tractor ploughing
GV Newly erected apartments
SV PAN & CU Prefabricated units and construction workers (2 shots)
CU & SV Wood being weighed and men pulling cart through street laden with logs (3 shots)
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Background: The latest reports from Afghanistan are of new major offensive against rebel forces by Soviet and Afghan government troops. News has reached New Delhi of pitched battles in 12 provinces, and of Soviet aircraft bombing villages where military convoys have come under attack. But there are few obvious signs in the capital, Kabul, of the war that has been raging in the countryside for many months.
SYNOPSIS: The streets are fairly busy -- at least in the daytime. Soviet civilians mingle with the shopping crowds, but soldiers are rarely seen there. They move during the curfew hours. \there is no shortage of work in the factories, particularly in heavy industry and those producing weapons and other supplies needed by the army.
Armed guards drawn from the factory workers stay in the evenings to patrol the building. They're a precaution against rebel raiders who might find things they could use in a deserted factory. Rebels have been active very close to Kabul.
Other workers leave promptly to catch a bus for home. So do the people who have come in to the city centre for business, shopping or pleasure. Kabul is short of public transport, and everyone must be indoors by ten o'clock at night, when the curfew begins. It lasts until five in the morning.
There are conflicting reports about the food situation. Government sources say there has been a good crop this year, and that the farmers have benefitted from co-operating with official schemes. They say that government measures have provided the peasants with high quality wheat and cotton seed, chemical fertilizers, modern machinery and financial credits. They say this has brought good results, including a 50 percent fall in wheat prices in some provinces. Other reports, filtering through with refuges, speak of countryside in poor shape, with crops fought over and destroyed, scorched earth and a real danger of famine. The peaceful and prosperous scenes in the fields round Kabul are not necessarily representative of conditions in other parts of the country.
There has been extensive building in Kabul: school, hospitals and new apartment blocks. The tenants are workers at the Kabul prefabricated housing construction factory. They say they are delighted with them. One said he previously lived in a mud hut, but now he had a home with heating, that he and his workmates had built themselves. He said that for him life had greatly improved since the April Revolution (that was when the People's Democratic Party first came to power, in 1978).
Most Afghans rely on wood for their heating and cooking - and a serious shortage was reported in Kabul about a month ago, as the first snow of the winter arrived. First the price soared out of reach of the ordinary wage earner. Then officials imposed a 50 percent price cut, and for a time the wood disappeared altogether.