ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- Last July 14, a remote-control device triggered three car-bomb explosions in Karachi, killing 72 Pakistanis and injuring 260. Then, on September 19, a bomb exploded at a bus stop in Rawalpindi, killing five and injuring 19.

These brutal bombings provide just two examples of Moscow's secret war of terror against Pakistan. The Soviet-directed campaign began in the early 1980s, in an effort to pressure Pakistan to stop providing a base of operations for the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, and it has escalated sharply during the last two years. It is a dirty war -- waged mostly against innocent civilians -- that has passed almost unnoticed outside Pakistan. Yet Pakistan accounted for an astonishing 45 percent of all those killed or wounded in terrorist bombing incidents last year, according to State Department statistics.

Why are the Soviets trying subvert Pakistan? "The Russians consider Pakistan responsible for their present predicament in Afghanistan," explains one Pakistani intelligence official. Another official notes: "This terrorist onslaught is to agitate people {to tell them} that being friendly to the West is the danger."

Details of the Soviet terror campaign are contained in a Pakistani intelligence report that was provided by Pakistani officials to The Washington Post. The report concludes bluntly that the campaign is intended to help neutralise Pakistan and further Moscow's long-term strategic goals in Southwest Asia. At the start of what the report calls the "invisible war," the Soviets ruled out the use of military force and opted for subversion and terrorism as "the choice instruments" against Pakistan. To carry out this invisible war, the KGB used surrogates in the Afghan intelligence service.

The Soviet terror campaign began in earnest in 1982 with air strikes against Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, where the Afghan resistance fighters and refugees live. The air raids were timed for maximum political effect. Whenever the so-called Geneva proximity talks between Pakistan and the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul were about to occur, or whenever an important VIP would arrive in Pakistan, the air raids escalated. But limited to the Northwest Frontier, they didn't have much effect on the population at large and failed to undermine the strong popular support for the mujaheddin.

The Soviet campaign shifted in 1985 to what the Pakistani intelligence report calls "a high-intensity terrorist campaign" aimed at high-impact targets such as "urban population centers, transport and communications facilities . . . selected to cause maximum loss of life and property, to generate fear and create widespread panic."

This second phase of the terror campaign showed increased sophistication in planting and exploding timed devices, the report says. Moreover, operatives were better trained than before and there was more sophistication in the selection of targets and the execution of plans and get-away techniques. There was also an increase in the number of incidents. By 1987, the bombings had become almost continuous, occurring every other week on the average.

One Pakistani expert attributes the change in Soviet terror tactics to Mikhail Gorbachev. When Gorbachev took office in 1985, he argues, the Soviets turned to "real hard-core terrorism . . . . {Under} Gorbachev, it {the bombing} really became a killing operation. Before, they hit railroads and the infrastructure and the refugee camps." Another senior Pakistani official contends that Najibullah, a KGB-trained official who headed the Afghan intelligence service before he became president of Afghanistan, deserves the credit for the shift to large-scale urban terrorism.

When the Soviets shifted their bombing, sabotage and terror from the Northwest Frontier Province to the cities, they were sending the Pakistanis a message: If there were no Afghan refugees in their country, there would be no bombings. The Soviets had a twofold aim, according to the report: to create tension between the Afghan refugees and the Pakistani population and to undermine support for President Zia ul-Haq's policy of supporting the Afghan resistance.

Moscow hid its role in the terror war by using Afghan cut-outs. The Pakistani report explains that the bombing campaign was "primarily planned and directed by the KGB and implemented through its subservient organizations in Afghanistan, WAD, the Afghan version of the KGB, and the Afghan Ministry of Tribes and Nationalities."

The Afghan intelligence service WAD selected the individual agents for the unsavory task of planting bombs to kill Pakistani civilians, the report says. WAD (formerly known as KHAD) has about 27,000 employees and a budget of $160 million, according to the report. It also has about 1,500 Soviet advisors, according to Pakistani estimates, and it doesn't launch any significant operations without Soviet permission.

High-level KGB/WAD teams "monitor, control and conduct the terrorist campaign against selected targets in Pakistan," according to the Pakistani intelligence report. Twenty such teams went into Pakistan between March 1986 and February 1987, the report says. WAD's agents tended to be Pakistanis, rather than Afghans. These Pakistanis receive their terrorism training either in Afghanistan or the Soviet Union. WAD assigns the targets and provides the explosives.

With over three million refugees in Pakistan, it is easy for the KGB or WAD to smuggle in agents and hard for the Pakistanis to detect them. "Trained agents are regularly infiltrated into the Afghan refugee camps to carry out subversive activities," says the report.

Here's an example of an operation that went awry: Several weeks ago, a WAD-trained agent threw explosive material into a large oil-storage area in Karachi. It was intended to blow up a large oil tank. The agent missed, and the material fell thirty feet short of its target. But a senior intelligence officer notes what would have happened if the operation had worked: "If one of those tanks blows up, it would blow up the whole Karachi seaport."

In addition to these terrorist bombings, the Soviets have also tried assassinating and kidnapping mujaheddin leaders while they are resting in Pakistan from fighting the Afghan war, according to the report. It notes: "There have been attempts at blowing up houses and offices of refugee leaders."

One recent casualty of these terror tactics, according to Pakistan expert Yossef Bodansky, may by Syed Bahouddin Majrooh of the Afghan Information Center, who was assassinated not long ago in Peshawar. "I personally have no doubt it was Soviet-engineered," says Bodansky, adding that "Majrooh was pro-resistance but not associated with any party and therefore would have been a prime candidate for a coalition government."

New terror tactics may lie ahead. One of the most remarkable revelations in the Pakistani intelligence report is that the KGB and WAD are training terrorists to handle "highly sophisticated weapons including surface-to-air missiles and ground-to-ground missiles. These are intended to be used against flying aircraft, Afghan refugee camps and other sensitive ground installations." A year ago, terrorists used rocket launchers against an airport in Peshawar, the report says, but they failed to inflict damage. Since then, Pakistani authorities have found and defused five missiles -- all aimed at heavily populated parts of Peshawar.

The Soviets have also used political subversion as part of their invisible war. Pakistan is a nation of tribes and the Soviets concentrated on two ethnic groups, the Pashtoons of the Northwest Frontier Province and the Baluchis, who inhabit an area called Baluchistan. The Soviets have attempted to revive the latent separatist feeling among these two groups.

To cultivate the Baluchis and the Pashtoons, the Soviets have taken some tribal elders to Afghanistan and to the Moslem republics of Soviet Central Asia. Some were recruited and sent back to Pakistan to be the "brain cell for the implementation of Soviet-Afghan subversive plans," according to the report. The Afghan Ministry of Tribes and Nationalities specializes in subverting Pakistani tribesmen, the report says, giving them weapons and cash, and encouraging terrorist activities inside Pakistan.

From the Soviet standpoint, the terrorist campaign has been useful. It has increased the public pressure on President Zia and Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junejo to negotiate a settlement to the Afghan war. It has also fueled growing resentment of the 3 million Afghan refugees and anger at the government for failing to protect its own citizens -- thus spreading discontent and providing a breeding ground for unrest.

When the Soviets were bombing Pakistan in the first stage of their terror war, Pakistan could turn to the United States and ask -- as it did unsuccessfully -- for an AWACs system to fend off the raids. But as one senior Pakistani official puts it: "What do you ask for to combat this kind of terrorism?"

Meanwhile, as Gorbachev talks of peace in Afghanistan, pictures of mangled bodies from random bomb blasts in Karachi and Rawalpindi are a reminder of Moscow's efforts to force Pakistan into submission. For any Pakistanis who didn't understand Soviet intentions, the KGB served notice on Dec. 26, 1987 -- the anniversary date of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- when a bomb exploded in the heart of Islamabad. One senior Pakistani intelligence official explains the message: "If we don't behave, this is what's going to happen." Lally Weymouth writes regularly about foreign affairs for The Washington Post.