From Tehran to London, thousands of protesters Friday marked the sixth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the pro-Moscow Afghan government made an unprecedented bid to win popular support.
The demonstrators accused the Soviets of war atrocities.
Many of the demonstrators were refugees from the embattled ‘Asian nation, where tens of thousands have died in years of fierce fighting and more than 5 million refugees have fled to neighboring Iran and Pakistan.
Governments including Iran, West Germany, France, Britain and the United States added their voices to the outcry.
President Reagan said the Soviets had “failed to gain even a modicum of popular support or international acceptance.”
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher praised the “brave” Afghan resistance fighters and told the Soviets: “You’ll never win over the people of Afghanistan.”
‘The anniversary protest came as the Afghan rulers moved to include representatives of other groups, but not the armed resistance of the Mujahideen.
All previous members of the government had come from the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the only one allowed.
“The expansion of the council of ministers by including influential nonparty figures is in line with decisions taken by the leadership of democratic Afghanistan to extend the social base of the April revolution,” the official Soviet news agency Tass announced Friday.
The invasion anniversary is marked on the day Afghan Communist Party chief Babrak Karmal announced over the radio he had taken power.
In New Delhi, about 2,000 protestors chanting “Death to Russia” and “Down with Karmal” marked the event with a rally near parliament after police barred them from marching on the Soviet Emassy. Children carrying photographs of youngsters maimed in Soviet air attacks led the demonstrators.
“We will fight to our last drop of blood,” said Qari Abdul Jalil, 22, who said he had fought with the Afghan rebels.
‘Thousands of Afghan refugees ‘marched through the Iranian capital of Tehran to protest the Soviet invasion.
Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Hojatolesiam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, condemned the Soviet presence in the Afghan homeland, neighboring Iran.
“The people of Afghanistan have by their armed struggle over the past six years proved that they do not recognize the government of (Babrak) Karmal,” he said.
The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement congratulating the “courageous resistance of the ‘Afghan people and their solidarity.”
Article extracted from this publication >> January 3, 1986