Afghan troops enforced a dust-to-dawn curfew in the capital of Kabul on Monday (6 August) after an abortive uprising among army units stationed there.
Afghan troops enforced a dust-to-dawn curfew in the capital of Kabul on Monday (6 August) after an abortive uprising among army units stationed there. Heavy fighting flared up in the centre of Kabul on Sunday (5 August) when an estimated twelve hundred soldiers led a rebellion against the Soviet-backed Government of President Noor Mohammad Tarakki. The President came to power in a violent coup in April last year, but for the past nine months rebel tribesmen have been battling to overthrow the government, accusing it of anti-Moslem policies.
SYNOPSIS: The Afghan Government used the full force of their Soviet-supplied armaments to crush the rebellion on Sunday (5 August). Rocket-firing helicopters, tanks and armoured personnel carriers were brought in against the rebels. The uprising was led by an artillery regiment and an infantry battalion guarding the Bal-Hissar Fort on the edge of Kabul's old town. Both the units were under strength as a result of purges and defections in the Government's war with Moslem tribesmen who control large areas of the country. The army is heavily politicised and ruling Kabul party cadres are stationed at all levels. The loyalty of the elite armoured and commando crops is still believed to be strong but dissatisfaction with the war against the tribesmen is widespread among conscript troops in the countryside.
The uprising at Ball Hissar was the third involving armed forces this year. About a thousand people died in an insurrection in the western town of Herat in March. Some of the dead included Soviet advisors whose bodies were said to have been severely mutilated.And in April a general was shot by one of his troops in the eastern town of Jalalabad. Several thousand Soviet officials and advisors are helping to direct the war against the rebels and to set up an administration in the largely feudal state. But following the Islamic revolution in Iran this year, there are widespread fears that Moslem rebels may try to stage a repeat performance. Both the United States and France have started to evacuate their nationals from the country following the latest disturbances. Few parts of Afghanistan remain untouched by the war which has disrupted the economy, grain harvest and fuel supplies.