Firing chemical shells that caused victims to vomit blood, Soviet and Afghan government soldiers recaptured a key border post and road link with Pakistan from anti-communist guerrillas, insurgents said.

Mohammad Shuaib of the Jamiat-e-Islami rebel group said thousands of government and Soviet troops were involved and that hundreds of guerrillas died in the battle before it ended Sunday.Western diplomats on Monday confirmed the presence of Soviet soldiers in the battle for the Torkham post and the highway linking Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan to Pakistan.