INTRODUCTION: Representatives of the Soviet Union's Moslem clergy have made their first ever visit to Afghanistan.
GV ZOOM SV Control tower at Kabul airport.
SV PULL BACK GV Delegation descending from aircraft, greeted by Dr. Sayed Afghani, chairman of Central Council of Islamic Religion.
GV Prayer session outside mosque, while Mufti calls out the prayers. (3 SHOTS)
SV Moslems entering mosque.
GV Mufti leaving mosque accompanies other Mullahs. (2 SHOTS)
GV Mufti and retinue going through mosque gates.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Representatives of the Soviet Union's Moslem clergy have made their first ever visit to Afghanistan. They flew into the country last week (26 June) as reports of heavy fighting between government troops and rebels continued to reach the West. In the past fortnight, six Russian soldiers have been killed in Kabul. Afghanistan's official media also said that a religious leader had been assassinated by rebels.
SYNOPSIS: The arrival of the Islamic delegation coincided with the latest offensive by Mujahideen groups in the capital, Kabul, and surrounding areas. Their resistance began following the coup in 1979 which installed a Marxist government now backed by Russian troops inside Afghanistan. The visit of the Moslem leaders also came at the same time as international diplomatic moves to set up a conference on the Soviet military presence in the country. The religious delegation was led by Mr. Mufti Ziyautdin Babakhanov, chairman of the Ecclesiastic Council of Moslems of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
After his airport reception, they went on to Kabul's principal mosque for a service celebrating the Day of Juma. Also there to hear Mr. Babakhanov were many of Afghanistan's leading Moslem clergy. The mosque is the burial place of Ali, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed.
The visit was regarded as one of great importance by both sides. But in the outside world it was still the fighting and political manoeuvring that kept diplomats busy. The most significant move for some weeks came from the European Common Market countries. They have proposed an international conference to discuss the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The hope is to negotiate a permanent settlement satisfactory to all sides.
The suggestion has already been rejected by the Afghan government, who say they are prepared instead, for separate negotiations with Iran and Pakistan. Despite this, Britain's Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington was due in Moscow on Sunday (5 July) hoping to persuade Kremlin leaders to attend an international convention