In Afghanistan, rebels fighting the Soviet-backed Afghan army have been involved in heavy clashes with Soviet forces, according to diplomatic sources in New Delhi.
GV Rebels in hillsides of south eastern Afghanistan (2 shots)
GV Rebels standing on captured tank
GV Shells and tank turret on road
GV Helicopter gunship flying over Targari area
GV PAN Rebels in mountains near Ali Sheng (2 shots)
GV Wreckage of armoured vehicles and rebels looking on (2 shots)
SV Rebels standing on abandoned tank
GV Rebels on captured tank on Kabul-Jalalabad road
GV Rebels throwing rocks off bridge at hulk of tank in the Muzi area of Pacti Province (2 shots)
GV Rebels walking down road past hulks of tanks
GV Rebels blending in with landscape (2 shot)
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Background: In Afghanistan, rebels fighting the Soviet-backed Afghan army have been involved in heavy clashes with Soviet forces, according to diplomatic sources in New Delhi. One report claimed that a rebel attack on a military convoy on August the 20th closed the main Kabul-Jalalabad highway south of the capital for three days.
SYNOPSIS: The guerrilla forces remain divided into small groups, mainly concentrated in the mountainous regions south of the capital, Kabul. Recent Afghan army estimates put their strength at thirty thousand, but despite Government efforts to characterise the rebels as disorganised and isolated, western sources report increasing numbers of defections to the rebel side from a demoralised Afghan army. The guerrillas have claimed several victories against the army and Soviet forces -- but while the evidence of past battles is proudly displayed, film of the fighting is hard to obtain, and its authenticity often doubtful. What is certain is that the rebels have provoked a tough response from the Russians, whose helicopter gunships make constant sorties from Kabul.
The Afghan army claims two thousand rebel casualties during the past two months, but that and rebel accounts of government casualties remain unconfirmed. The rebels point to the remains of armoured vehicles -- but it's not always easy to establish how long ago they were destroyed. One recent rebel victory, according to western diplomatic sources, was their attack on a military convoy on August 20th which closed the main road between Kabul and Jalalabad for three days.
Since the invasion last December western observers believe the Soviet Union has suffered ten thousand casualties, and they estimate that Soviet troops in Afghanistan number between eighty and a hundred thousand, despite a limited withdrawal in June. However, the poorly armed rebel fighters seem to be maintaining their resistance. Though the Soviet and Afghan armies control the principal roads during the daytime, the rebels are holding on to the mountainous areas and passes.