A Soviet official today said the Kremlin has resumed military airlifts to Afghanistan in response to a guerrilla offensive around the strategic city of Jalalabad.
Muslim guerrillas today claimed that they shot down two more aircraft in heavy fighting for Jalalabad, Afghanistan’s third-largest city. The government claimed that 470 insurgents were killed in fighting in the last 24 hours.
Soviet Ambassador Yuri Vorontsov said Moscow resumed airlifting arms to Kabul on Wednesday, one month after the Red Army withdrew from the war-torn nation.
Vorontsov said the weapons included medium-range Scud B missiles, which have reportedly been fired from Kabul at guerrilla positions around Jalalabad, 75 miles to the east and 40 miles west of the Pakistan border.
Sources said at least 40 Ilyushin-76 transport planes have landed at Kabul airport since Wednesday, carrying military supplies and food.
Vorontsov accused Pakistan of sending hundreds of its soldiers along with the guerrillas in the 10-day battle for Jalalabad, which has been among the most intense in Afghanistan’s civil war.
“We have discussed the situation with the Pakistanis, and they know what our reaction will be if their involvement continues,” Vorontsov said. “We are not threatening the Pakistanis, but they must stop.”