Moslem guerrillas, bolstered by newly arrived reinforcements, intensified their rocket and artillery attacks on the government-held city of Jalalabad, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Guerrilla bombardments on Thursday and Friday killed 69 civilians and wounded 123, the government said.It was one of the highest civilian death tolls reported since the U.S.-backed guerrillas launched their offensive March 6 in an effort to oust government troops from the city 75 miles east of Kabul.
The siege began less than three weeks after the last Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan after nine years of support for successive regimes in Kabul.
Mohammad Nabi Amani, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, reported eight deaths and 27 injuries among government troops and said 109 opposition fighters were killed and 70 wounded.
Most of the figures could not be verified, but members of the Sikh religious minority who arrived in Kabul on Saturday said 22 people were killed Thursday in a Sikh Gurdwara, or temple, in Jalalabad.
They said hundreds of people had taken refuge in the Gurdwara as rocket and shell fire intensified, and they said few people were venturing outside.
Amani said 12,000 to 14,000 opposition fighters, including what he said were "Pakistani militiamen in Afghan costume," were attacking Jalalabad early in the week and an additional 3,500 men had joined them by Saturday. He said the new fighters came from Paktia and Paktika provinces, which are southwest of Nangarhar province where Jalalabad is located.