The tanks are off the streets and life is taking on a semblance of normality in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, after the military coup a week and a half ago that ousted the government of President Muhammed Daoud.
GV PAN: Kabul city with street scenes. (3 shots)
GV: crowds walking past tanks in palace grounds. (3 shots)
GV: car of former President lying damaged PAN TO CU destroyed army vehicle decorated with flowers.
GV: former President's office ZOOM TO CU cushions on lawn where President is alleged to have died.
CU AND GV: crowds walking past tanks in palace grounds. (5 shots)
A Communist Afghan state on the lines of Czechoslovakia or Hungary would bring the Soviet Union's sphere of influence virtually to the borders of Pakistan an much nearer the long supposed Soviet goal of an Indian Ocean port. Another area of possible tension in the event of pro-Moscow regime in Kabul is the politically sensitive border areas of Pakistan in Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier provinces. Baluchi leaders, recently freed from prison in Pakistan, have never made secret their pro-Communist and secessionist leanings. If Kabul decided to support this secessionist movement, the Pakistani army would be hard to put to counter it. Iran has repeatedly made it plain that in the event of political upheaval in Baluchistan, it would not remain indifferent because of its interest in the Persian Gulf.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The tanks are off the streets and life is taking on a semblance of normality in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, after the military coup a week and a half ago that ousted the government of President Muhammed Daoud. There is much dispute over the extent of the bloodshed in the coup which brought to power a left-wing government, headed by President Nur Mohammed Tarakki, dubbed by the Soviet Press as Afghanistan's "leading revolutionary". Last week, in his first press conference, President Tarakki denied his government was communist and said it intended to take a non-aligned and independent peace-seeking policy. Its relations with both the Soviet Union and the West wold be determined by economic and other aid it received.
SYNOPSIS: In Kabul, it is business as usual, though for most people the nature of the regime they now live under remains something of a mystery. When newspapers appeared for the first time since the coup, they carried photographs of Mr Tarakki and other party leaders and everywhere there was a scramble for copies. Informed sources say that 65-year-old Mr Tarakki is a moderate who believes it would be impossible for Afghanistan still one of the world's most underdeveloped countries, to function as an orthodox Communist state under present conditions.
Mr Tarakki said in his first press conference that Afghan's revolution would be a unique one, without guidance from Moscow or other centres. But his government is dominated by members of the staunchly pro-Soviet Democratic Khalq (People's) Party and his two right hand men, Babrak Karamal and Hafizullah Amir, both Ministers, are said to be far more rigid ideologues. The Soviet Union, which denies involvement in the coup led the world in giving the new regime diplomatic recognition.
As apparent stability returns to Afghanistan, more nations have recognised the revolutionary government. Britain and the United States soon followed Moscow's example. President Tarakki's denials of a Moscow-Kabul axis go some way to dispelling widespread fears in diplomatic circles that a strongly pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan could give the Soviet Union a major strategic opening in the region. So far, pronouncements from the new government have been of the broadest kind and diplomatic sources are waiting anxiously for the first concrete policy statement to judge how radical the regime might be.