The World

A senior U.N. official left for Islamabad, Pakistan, to help pave the way for what could be the last round of talks on the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Undersecretary General Diego Cordovez, who will also be traveling to the Afghan capital of Kabul, told reporters that he is optimistic about reaching agreement in the next round of indirect talks in Geneva between Pakistan, where U.S.-backed rebels have bases, and the Soviet-backed Afghan government. He said he hopes those talks will begin Feb. 15. There are an estimated 115,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and the Soviets have said that withdrawal could begin in two months once a timetable is set.

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