Following dispatch was filed by William Branigin after a 10-day visit ended with his expulsion along with other U.S. journalists Friday.
Afghanistan's once proud, fierce Army officers now encounter scorn on the streets of Kabul, there they are called "Russian wives" by Afghans who resent the Army's acceptance of the Soviet occupation of their nation.
Many politically prominent Afghans live in fear today that they will get job offers from the new Soviet-in-stalled government -- jobs that could turn them into puppets in the eyes of their countrymen. Those jobs could fall victim to yet another coup and bloody purge.
Clandestine leaflets have begun to appear in Kabul showing that resentment against the Soviet presence is surfacing even inside President Babrak Karmal's Parcham wing of the ruling People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, which may face even deeper ideological splits now because of the Soviet intervention.
Taken together, such signs of opposition to the Soviet takeover on Dec. 27 suggest that Afghanistan will be an unwilling satellite of the Kremlin, which is likely to be forced both to commit more and more troops to conquer the rebellious countryside and to supply vast sums of economic aid to prop up Babrak's rule.
Occupied Afghanistan provides two levels of problems for its would-be masters; Babrak faces major political difficulties in forming a government that can gather enough political support to survive without Moscow's troops, and the Kremlin faces the military problems of establishing control in a rugged, remote land of mountain and desert tribes.
The Afghan guerrilla forces operating in the country's mountains and across the border from Pakistan and Iran can harass the Soviet occupation but seem incapable of posing a serious military threat to it. Babrak's politcal problems seem more troublesome.
Dissident circulars distributed clandestinely by nationalist elements. within Babrak's Parcham (Flag) Party seek to dissociate Parcham from the Soviet invasion and suggest a split in the party rank-and-file over the issue. sSome Parcham members have privately complained to foreign visitors about the Soviet invasion.
In addition, there are indications that tensions between Parcham and the rival Khalq (Masses) faction of the People's Democratic Party are growing despite the government's efforts to unite them after the Dec. 27 coup that ousted the Khalq leadership under president Hafizullah Amin, who was slain.
"Ideologically, the Parcham and the Khalq cannot digest the presence of the Russians," one prominent Parchamite intellectual said. But apart from this similarity, he said, there is a desire within Parcham to avenge jailings, tortures and executions blamed on the past Khalq leaders and this threatens the party.
The Parchamite said some prominent Afghans fear being offered a job in the new government. "They're scared to say no and scared to participate," he said. "Personally I cannot join the government despite my sympathy for the movement. I don't want to carry responsibility for the Russian presence here."
Misgivings about the Soviet goal and uncertainty about their own future extend to the upper ranks of the Afghan military, according to Afghan and foreign sources. Many find themselves targets of harassment and name-calling on the streets of Kabul.
A retired Afghan colonel predicted that the Soviets would have trouble keeping a hold on the country.
"The people won't sit still," he said. "Taking Afghanistan is very easy, but keeping it a very difficult. Invaders have always had a hard time. There will be an explosion in the near future."
According to a 1969 history by Afghan scholar Mohammed Ali, "One of the most important characteristics of the Afghan is their indomitable love of independence. The Afghan would patiently bear mistfortune and poverty but they cannot be made to reconcile themselves to foreign rule, however enlightened and progressive it may be."
In the past, this resistance to foreign conquerors has sometimes bubbled up after years of relative quiescence.
If there is a revolt, Western military analysts said, the Soviets will probably need to add more troops to the 85,000 to 100,000 now estimated to be in the country. (Some recent estimates put the number at 130,000.) The Western analysts consider the Soviet force sufficient to hold Afghanistan's major towns and roads, but not to wipe out the insurgency.
The sources point out that with 90,000 to 100,000 men, the Afghan Army was barely able to hold the towns and roads and was suffering severe losses at the hands of the disorganized and poorly equipped rebels.
A key to the ability of the Soviets and Karmal's government jointly to control the country is the Afghan Army.
Because of losses and desertions, it is now estimated at half its former strength. It retains its basic organization, but suffers from a weekend command structure and has been largely relieved of its heavy weapons to reduce risk if any turn on the Soviet invaders.
For the time being, the Soviets appear to be holding their positions with relative ease, having moved swiftly and efficiently to seize control of the country.
Rebels reports of major battles with the Soviets generally have been exaggerated, and most towns and villages visted by correspondents show no sign of physical resistance to the new government or the scarcely visible Soviet troops. In Kabul, there has been no real fighting since the coup.
While Moscow's intentions are far from clear, military experts here doubt that the Soviets really want to get involved in counterinsurgency warfare and undertake an all out offensive to and resistance. Ideally, sources said, the Soviets would like to see Babrak engineer a political solution to the guerrilla opposition and build up the Afghan armed forces for any dirty work in the meantime.
Failing a political solution, or the Afghan Army's resurrection, however, there are few illusions that the Soviets would hestitate to crush the rebellion by whatever means necessary, including shelling or bombing Afghan villages. There are reports that may have already happened north of Kabul.
Diplomatic sources strongly doubt that Moscow would pull out its troops while there is a danger that doing so would lead to the collapse of the Soviet-installed government.
In this sense, Afghanistan is much more important to the Soviet Union than Vietnam ever was to the United States, according to analysts here.
The main reason is that Afghanistan shares a border with the Soviet Union, and any overthrow of a pro-Moscow communist government in Kabul by Islamic guerrillas might arouse Moslems in the Soviet Asian republics.
But there is also the possibility that a full-scale Soviet offensive against Afghan Moslems could have the same effect.
The Soviet Moslems may already be getting restive. According to Afghan sources, several Soviet soldiers of Moslem origin from the border areas have asked Kabul residents for copies of the Koran in recent days.
Why the Soviets felt the need to invade Afghanistan remains a subject of some debate. While it is clear that Amin had become increasingly intractable after having ousted president Nur Mohammed Taraki in a coup in September 1979, it does not seem that along brought in the Soviets.
Although less obedient to the Kremlin than either Taraki or Babrak, Amin nevertheless was firmly in the Soviet camp. Probably more important for the Soviets, Amin's brutal regime had alienated the public and his much purged army was losing more and more ground to the insurgents.
Despite the rebels' disunity and their inability to capture major cities, it seems likely that another rebel offensive in the spring would have toppled Amin's government. If that had happened, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan would have been considerably more awkward and difficult than moving in under a friendly government and crushing it.
While the influx of Soviet troops has had a great psychological impact, some diplomats contend that Afghanistan had already become a Soviet satellite and moving in troops was aimed at maintaining that status.
Under the nonaligned leftist president Mohammed Daoud, who overthrew King Zahir in 1973, Afghanistan's military and economy became heavily dependent on Soviet advisers and projects.
That influence burgeoned when Daoud was killed and replaced by Taraki in April 1978, and the Soviets steadily increased their presence until military advisors reached down to the company level and Soviet civilian's held posts in virtually all ministries.
"The military and the economy were locked up," one diplomat said. "Afghanistan could hardly be considered an independent country."