An estimated 4,000 Soviet civilian advisers have flown in here and another 100 are arriving daily to run Afghanistan's government, just as the Red Army is occupying the nation militarily.
The new arrivals, like the six divisions of troops before them, pass through no customs or passport checks. The planes are not clocked in and are met by buses at a remote part of the airport.
According to a senior Afghan government official who was displaced by what he disdainfully called a "Russki adviser," the new arrivals speak fluent Persian, know the local customs and are highly trained to step into the jobs formerly held by Afghans.
Each of President Babrak Karmal's 19 ministers is said to have at least two Soviet advisers who sit in on all meetings, see those whom the minister receives and tell him what to do.
The Soviets have taken over the policy-making and executive functions in most departments, although they are nominally under Afghan civil servants.
A possilbe reason for the Soviet administrative takeover, said my Afghan informant, was that many of the 3,000 communists who seized the government in April 1978 were killed in the infighting between party factions that followed.
The result was a shortage of dependable officials, forcing the Soviets to come in and do the job.
In the case of KAM the state security bureau, even that pretense was abandoned. The entire service was abolished and rebuilt around 640 Soviet intelligence officers, said to have been drawn mostly from the KGB secret police.
As for the Afghan Army, which the Soviets initially had disarmed in December, about half of the 90,000 men -- now grouped in five divisions -- have been rearmed after screening. But they are reported to have been issued only limited amounts of ammunition and are used mainly against Moslem rebels when the need arises.
Those remaining unarmed include the Kabul division that was loyal to the late president Hafizullah Amin. It is still surrounded by Soviet armor. The division had been used by Amin to overthrow and kill the last noncommunist leader, Muhammad Daoud, in 1978.
Some Afghan soldiers guarding dipolomatic houses had their guns returned last week without any ammunition. The local police are even less trusted and remain stripped of their weapons.
A mounting resentment to the Soviets fills Kabul like the acrid smoke at night from the thousands of wood fires around which Afghans gather. The local communists have been stirring up a vendetta against themselves since they seized power from Daoud.
Almost every family can tell of losing someone to the communists. The total is said to be well over 50,000 in the population of 21 million. Babrak admitted at a press conference that "tens of thousands of Afghan nationals were jailed or collectively liquidated" under the "blood-thirsty hangman" amin.
One of the victims, it is now known, was Ibrahim Mujahididi, one of the country's most renowned Moslem scholars and the son of a mullah, Shor Bazaar.
"Blood for blood" is an ancient law of Afghan tribes. By blaming his onetime communist partner Amin for the massacres, Babrak has invited vengeance upon himself and every communist in Afghanistan when the time comes.
News services reported from outside Afghanistan:
Travelers crossing into Pakistan say that thousands of Afghans are protesting the Soviet presence by climbing onto the roofs of their houses each evening to chant anit-Russian slogans.
The travelers from Herat in western Afghanistan and Kabul told a Reuter correspondent in the Pakistani border town of Chaman that the protesters ignored calls from the patrolling Afghan troops for silence.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government news agency, Bakhtar, issued an invitation to citizens to submit their "patroitic views" about the color and design of a new flag. Last year, the communist rulers replaced the traditional red, black, green flag with a predominantly red banner along the lines of the Soviets'.
Revival of the Islamic green would be in line with the new government's effort to reconcile Moslems offeneded by what they consider the antheist symbolism of the communist red.