INTRODUCTION: Afghan resistance fighters have captured a Soviet tank in working condition.
SVs Afghan rebels sitting on top of Soviet tank driving along countryside (2 shots)
SV Tank continues over bumpy ground
SV Tank moving along
GV Soviet helicopters flying overhead
GV Shell-damaged village with rubble and smoke
SVs PAN Devastated village (2 shots)
TV Afghan rebels travelling along mountain trail
GV Rebels round knocked-out tank (3 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV Rebels stand on Russian tank (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Afghan resistance fighters have captured a Soviet tank in working condition. The guerrillas are also said to have taken Kalashnikov rifles, machine-guns and bazookas. Despite such gains the guerrillas still suffer heavy losses. Soviet and Afghan troops have destroyed a number of villages and the guerrillas reportedly are suffering food shortages.
SYNOPSIS: The Afghan rebels are particularly short of heavy weaponry. Capturing tanks is rare, capturing tanks in working order is almost unheard of. So such an addition to their firepower lifts the morale of the guerrillas in spite of the odds against them. One rebel leader recently claimed his guerrillas were engaging troops from seven communist countries. Apart from Russians, Vietnamese and Cubans, rebel leader Mohammed Amin Wardak said there were also soldiers from east European countries in Afghanistan armed with the sophisticated weaponry of the Warsaw Pact.
But it's helicopter gunships, more than tanks which prove the most destructive weapon in the Soviet arsenal. And the guerrillas have no arms against them. There is talk here of the United States supplying the guerrillas with heat-seeking land-to-air missiles. But until they arrive, if their sale is ever approved, devastated Mujahedin villages stand witness to the destructive power of the Soviet air attacks. One apparent Soviet tactic is to seek out villages, first pound them from the gunships and then call in artillery until the buildings are ruin and the population has fled.
The guerrillas take sanctuary high in the mountains depending for their day-to-day supplies on food donated by sympathetic villagers. But the destruction of more and more villages and guerrilla strongholds has been an effort to break the rebels through lack of food. The rebels fight on with varying success. Often where they do capture a tank it is little more than a wreck.
The guerrillas hold out hope for better and more sophisticated weapons from countries friendly to their cause. Rebel leader Mohammed Amin Wardak has named Egypt as the country giving the guerrillas the most significant aid. China, he explained is supplying light arms, but not enough to make the capture of a tank common place.