Afghanistan's Soviet backed leader, Babrak Karmal, flew into Moscow on Thursday (16 October) to a red carpet welcome from President Leonid Brezhnev.
GV Welcoming committee at airport, and plane taxiing on runway (2 shots)
GV President Brezhnev and Russian officials walk to plane
Kamal walks down steps of aircraft and greets Brezhnev as crowd looks on (4 shots)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Brezhnev and Karmal with Guard of Honour (2 shots)
GV & SVs National anthems are played (4 shots)
SV They review Guard of Honour (2 shots)
GV & SV Shake hands with dignitaries, as crowd waves
GV Troops march past as Brezhnev and Karmal review the march past (6 shots)
SV Both men turn and leave the airport
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Background: Afghanistan's Soviet backed leader, Babrak Karmal, flew into Moscow on Thursday (16 October) to a red carpet welcome from President Leonid Brezhnev. It was his first official visit to the Soviet Union since he came to power last December
SYNOPSIS: By inviting Mr. Karmal for a full scale visit to Moscow, the Kremlin has acted to stop speculation that it might be prepared to drop him in the search for a compromise settlement in Afghanistan. President Leonid Brezhnev was there to greet him in person, as the Afghan leader descended the aircraft's steps.
It was Mr. Karmal's first journey outside Afghanistan since the Soviet-backed coup which brought him to power, and observers believe it was a perfect opportunity for the Kremlin to reaffirm its backing for his hard-pressed Marxist government.
Diplomats in Moscow suggest that the Kremlin hopes, in the long run, that it will be able to persuade Pakistan and other countries in the region, that Mr. Karmal, and his government are a permanent fixture and will have to be accepted. The Soviet News Agency Tass, reporting his arrival in Tashkent, gave no indication which Afghan Ministers were accompanying him. It's expected that he will be given the seal of approval for his ten months rule, and receive private undertakings that Soviet troops - the mainstay of his government - will not be withdrawn until all resistance has been removed.
Mr. Karmal is expected to announce growing support for the April 1978 Revolution, which ushered in Marxist rule. He's also likely to denounce alleged American and Chinese interference in Afghanistan. He, and Kremlin leaders, say this interference prompted the Soviet move last year, and have suggested there was collusion between the U.S. and Hafizullah Amin, the Afghan leader killed in the December coup.
Western diplomats say his Moscow visit is clearly timed to influence next month's United Nations General Assembly debate on the Afghan issue called for by the islamic Conference countries.
Before his visit the Soviet press reported that Mr. Karmal's government is gaining popular support while the rebels suffer defeats.