An Afghan diplomat, declaring he could no longer "live as a tool of the Soviets," announced Wednesday he had defected while en route to a posting in North Korea.

Mohammad Manssor Tahiri said that during his 10 years at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul he had leaked documents to moderate groups of the Pakistan-based Afghan resistance, which is fighting to oust the regime installed by Moscow.No officials were available for comment at the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi.

At least four Afghan diplomats have defected during the past year, most of them expressing disillusionment with the Afghan government, which will be left on its own to fight the rebels, who are backed by the U.S., if Soviet occupation troops meet a Feb. 15 withdrawal deadline set in the April Geneva Accords.

Tahiri told reporters he began planning his defection two months ago when he learned of his appointment as first secretary to the Afghan Embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea. He said he sold his house and arranged for the departure of his wife and five children.

His three oldest sons went overland to Iran before Tahiri, accompanied by his wife and two youngest children, flew out of Kabul on Dec. 3 for New Delhi.

"The New Delhi embassy was not informed when I was to arrive," explained Tahiri, 51, who before his 10 years in Kabul had been stationed in Pakistan. "I went to a hotel and checked in and then immediately went to contact my friends."

Mohammad Sayed Maiwand, a former Afghan diplomat who is assisting Tahiri, said the defector had registered with the United Nations as a refugee and planned to stay in India until he could immigrate to another unspecified nation.