From a statement issued Dec. 27 by President Reagan on the eighth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:
Eight years ago, . . . the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in an unprovoked and blatant affront to both human decency and international law.. . . Despite eight years of occupation, they have not been able to subdue the proud people of Afghanistan.
Some 5 million Afghans have fled the ravages of this Soviet war on their homeland and the oppression the Soviet army has imposed. As many as 1 million Afghans have been killed. In destroying crops, factories, homes, schools and mosques, the Soviet Union has sought to deprive its enemy -- the whole Afghan nation -- of the means to support and feed themselves, to sustain their culture and their faith, and thereby to bring them to their knees.
But the Afghan people will not be conquered. With an abiding faith in God and a passionate love of freedom, they have shown the world what price free people are willing to pay to remain free. . . .
On a number of occasions, I have invited the Soviet leadership to explore all opportunities to bring peace to Afghanistan. . . . General Secretary Gorbachev and I discussed this issue during our recent meetings here in Washington. At that time, I asked him to announce a timetable for troop withdrawal. . . . I call once again on the Soviet Union to translate its declared intentions into reality.. . . Let 1988 be the year of action, the year that will see the Soviet Union end once and for all its brutal occupation of Afghanistan. . . .
The people of Afghanistan have, as much as any people in history, won the right to freedom and independence. We applaud their commitment and steadfastness, for their cause is the cause of free people everywhere.