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The World

The Soviet General Staff had warned the Kremlin against large-scale intervention in Afghanistan in December, 1979, arguing in vain for a more limited operation, a top Soviet soldier said. Gen. Valentin I. Varennikov, who headed the Soviet Defense Ministry’s operational group in Afghanistan for four years, also criticized as a “demagogue” Babrak Karmal, who became Afghan president after the Soviet troops moved in. Varennikov, now deputy defense minister and commander of Soviet land forces, told the weekly Ogonyok: “It is a fact that the General Staff was against the idea of sending the troops to Afghanistan up until the time when it was decided.”


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