Soviet troops crossed into the Soviet Union from Afghanistan Thursday in a convoy of armored personnel carriers as Moscow quickened its military pullout from the 8-year-old war.

Soviet soldiers in the withdrawing column who spoke to reporters spoke of the grinding ground war that according to Moscow's admission has left more than 13,000 Soviet troops dead."When I get home," said Bagan Seribrov, 24, "I will describe the landscape and the people and say that I served in another century - that they live in the 14th century."

Under the air cover of Soviet helicopter gunships, 34 armored vehicles each bearing about 10 infantry completed the 320-mile trek north along a route guarded by soldiers at outposts every 8 miles.