INTRODUCTION: President Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union will celebrate his 75th birthday on Saturday (19 December), and leaders from a number of countries have been arriving in Moscow to pay their respects.
GV Brezhnev and Babrak Karmal enter room.
GV Babrak Karmal opening address in Pushtu CUTAWAY Soviet delegation, CU Karmal. (3 SHOTS)
CU Brezhnev listening with Karmal speaking over.
GV Afghan delegation applauding Brezhnev; GV Karmal pins the Afghan order 'Sun of Freedom' on Brezhnev. (2 SHOTS)
CU Afghan Order on Brezhnev's lapel.
GV Brezhnev speaking in Russian.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: President Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union will celebrate his 75th birthday on Saturday (19 December), and leaders from a number of countries have been arriving in Moscow to pay their respects. One of the early arrival was President Babrak Karmal of Afghanistan; on Wednesday (16 December) he awarded the Soviet leader Afghanistan's highest honour, the Sun of Freedom Order.
SYNOPSIS: The Afghan leader, Babrak Karmal, has often been in contact with President Brezhnev since the Russian leader made the decision to send Soviet personnel and armour into Afghanistan in December, 1979. The move followed a coup carried out by Mr.Karmal. The Soviet Union has consistently denied that it invaded the country. It says it was merely extending fraternal aid to a government which had sought its help. But the West and most Islamic countries have termed the Soviet intervention as invasion and called for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.
As Babrak Karmal prepared to honour President Brezhnev at the Kremlin, he repeatedly spoke of his gratitude Mr.Brezhnev's support. The Soviet Union has invested heavily in the Afghan government, has reportedly suffered heavy losses from nearly two years of fighting the Mujahideen in the outlying Afghan provinces. The West has seen the Soviet presence in Afghanistan as evidence of soviet expansionism and threat to the Middle East. The Soviet Union portrayed its Afghan role as a purely defensive one in a traditional sphere of influence.
After President Brezhnev received the medal, he said that the 'Sun of Freedom' had risen over the Afghanistan and that none would be able to extinguish it. He went on the charge that imperialist and reactionary forces had never stopped interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. Mr. Brezhnev added that the Soviet Union will continue to support the Karmal government in bringing stability to the country.