Reports from Afghanistan say there has been fighting around the capital, Kabul, between Soviet troops and units of the Afghan army itself.
GV EXTERIOR Gun emplacements and Soviet tanks outside Kabul (2 shots)
GV Soldiers manning anti-aircraft guns with transport trucks in background
GV Radar antennae swinging round on top of hill
GV Gun emplacements and soldiers digging hole with transport vehicles in background (2 shots)
SV AND CU Kabul residents clearing snow from streets of capital (2 shots)
GV Soviet soldier walking in streets of Kabul watched by civilians (2 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO GV Loudspeaker on pole and residents walking through streets (2 shots)
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Background: Reports from Afghanistan say there has been fighting around the capital, Kabul, between Soviet troops and units of the Afghan army itself. The reports on Thursday (17 January) say heavy-calibre guns were heard near the airport north of the city.
SYNOPSIS: Firing to the north of the city continued--according to reports--for at least two hours. The day before, an aircraft burned for several hours near the runway. Unconfirmed accounts said there has also been clashes in a fort near the capital, where there was an Afghan mutiny last year.
The Soviet hardware, in the meantime, remains well dug in. Some Westerners in the city believe that the Soviet role is to secure the city, leaving the Afghan army free to fight rebels. There are no reports of Soviet operations against the tribesmen in Afghanistan, who pledged a Holy War against what they call "invaders".
Observers said the defences are comprehensive, including anti-aircraft guns. Normally, fighting subsides during the Afghan winter, and if this holds true, the Afghan army will be replenishing its ranks and training under Soviet advisers.
Reports from Kabul itself say the city is relaxed, with the population merely observing the new regime.
Soviet troops sometimes go onto the streets, but they are closely guarded after several were attacked--and, say reporters there, they rarely stay for more than a few minutes.
Through loudspeakers,the regime promises the Soviet troops will soon withdraw when the political situation stabilises. But on Thursday (17 January), Reuters quoted guerrilla spokesmen as saying Soviet paratroopers and light tanks were dropped in the north east to help government troops.