Soviet Union plagued by
Afghanistan war losses
MOSCOW (AP) - The Kremlin
wants out of Afghanistan, an 8-year-
old war with casualties in the tens of
thousands that cannot be squared
with Mikhail Gorbachev's avowed
plans for changing what is wrong
with Soviet society.
Mounting public resentment and
realization that the communist rulers
in Kabul cannot stand alone have
made it a question - as Soviet of-
ficials put it - of when to with-
draw, not whether to withdraw.
Each time a young man is called
for compulsory military service,
with bloody Afghanistan looming
over the border, loyal citizens won-
der when Gorbachev's political "re-
structuring" will end the unwinnable
The youngsters are sent away and
return wounded, or for burial. The
parents wonder when Gorbachev's
policy of "new thinking" will end
the involvement started in December
1979 by the old leadership he has
discredited; when his policy of
"glasnost," or openness, will cause
the government to disclose the
number of casualties.
Officials who express the Krem-
lin's view at news conferences refuse
to say how many Soviet soldiers
have been killed. Western diplomats
estimate up to 10,000 have died and
many more wounded..
Since Gorbachev introduced glas-
nost, some articles in the state-run
press have mentioned problems
shared by veterans, but the war
remains a sensitive one for both the
media and society.
Soviet involvement in the civil
war between the Afghan regime and
Moslem rebels has been a major
barrier to better superpower rela-
tions. It heads the list of "regional
issues" the general secretary of the
Soviet Communist Party and Pres-
ident Reagan are discussing at their
summit in Washington.
Gennady Gerasimov, the Foreign
Ministry spokesperson, confirmed at
a briefing Monday in Washington
that the Kremlin has "made a
political decision for our troops to
withdraw." It insists, however, that
Pakistan, the United States and other
nations stop aiding the guerrillas.
Gorbachev and Najib, the Afghan
leader, announced recently that all
Soviet soldiers could be removed in
a year or less. Western military
experts estimate the Soviets have
about 115,000 troops in Afghan-
istan, where Moslem insurgents
have been fighting since a com-
munist coup in April 1978.
No date for starting a withdrawal
has been announced, nor is it likely
that Moscow and Kabul have decided
MOSCOW (AP) - Soviets shed
tears of joy and looked hopefully to States.
a visit by President Reagan next year Tatyana Logino
as they spoke words of goodwill selling apples at t
yesterday following the signing of into tears when she
the nuclear arms treaty by the two radio report aboutt
superpowers. treaty by Reagan a
"There hasn't been any other bachev, the genera
president who has gone so far to Soviet Communist
meet us," said a 55-year-old man
from Rostov in southern Russia
who identified himself only as Nik-
"We, two great powers, will trade mi
and live in friendship and peace," he
told The Associated Press as he
waited for a train in Moscow's Kiev
At the Cheremushkinsky Farmers
Market in the southern part of the mi
capital, in a certain part of Moscow, Quality Ca
other people interviewed at random - OFFER
also spoke warmly of the United E Ph
vskikh, who was
he market, burst
recalled hearing a
the signing of the
and Mikhail Gor-
l secretary of the
"I had grandiose impressions,"
said the 32-year-old mother of two.
"My children will be happy and they
will live in peace."
Asked about Reagan's speeches
that were broadcast live Tuesday,
Alexandra Rumantsev said, "They
were all right, as I understand him."
President Ronald Reagan talks with Mikhail Gorbachev during a meeting in the Oval Office yesterday. The
two superpower leaders spoke alone, accompanied by their interpreters, Dmitri Zarechnak (left) and Pavel
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(Continued from Page 1)
control proposals from the summit
could lead to future frustration.
"It's a good treaty, but the wrong
lesson may be learned. Reagan's
supporters are attributing the
Soviets' signing of the treaty to
Reagan's strength at the bargaining
table. It is Gorbachev who made the
changes necessary to sign. It is
doubtful that the U.S. will see the
Soviets make similar concessions on
Evangelista cites Afghanistan as
one of those issues.
"Reagan believes he can force out
the Soviets by continuing to send
military aid to the Afghan rebels. I
think that is a ridiculous solution,"
Also, the fact that there is
considerable opposition to the INF
in Congress could lead to trouble in
future negotiations. Although con-
servatives will hesitate to suggest
renegotiation, they could seek to
attach reservations and restrictions to
the treaty, said Evangelista.
Zimmerman agrees that conser-
vatives might prevent future talks.
"Just as the liberals were wrong
in not supporting (Reagan's ABM
treaty) in 1981, the conservatives are
wrong in 1987."
organizations are quick to say that
the Reagan administration should
not be given credit for the signing of
"We should not allow Reagan to
take credit for the treaty. It is not
something that he wanted. The peace
movement forced him to change his
mind," said Justin Schwartz, a
spokesperson for the Michigan
Alliance for Disarmament.
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