Soviet military officials have decided to halt the pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan until the onset of winter and may blame the delay on Pakistan, Western diplomats said Tuesday.
The diplomats, who spoke separately and on condition that they were not identified, also said the Moslem rebels maintained pressure on the Afghan government by firing more than 50 rockets into the capital of Kabul in one week alone."The Russians have decided to halt their withdrawal program for the time being," said one diplomat, quoting Soviet sources in Kabul.
He said diplomats in Kabul believe the Soviets may seek to win a propaganda campaign by blaming Pakistan for violating the U.N-mandated Geneva accord under which Moscow began a nine-month withdrawal on May 15.
The Soviets were to withdraw half of their 115,000 troops by Aug. 15 and complete the pullout by Feb. 15.
Moscow and Western diplomats said the Soviet Union met the August deadline.
The Soviet Union invaded the landlocked nation in December 1979 to bolster a communist government plagued by divisions and a rebellion.