The visit of Zbigniew Brzezinski to Pakistan was an attempt to convert the country into "a huge arsenal," according to an Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, who said such "desperate efforts" will lead only to an increase in the region's instability.

As quoted in the Kabul New Times, the spokesman said Brzezinski made "provocative assertions" during his visit to the "so-called Afghan refugee camps" near the Afghan border.

In Moscow, meanwhile, the official Soviet news agency Tass described as "an anti-Soviet fabrication" the assertions by U.S. officials in Washington Friday that Soviet troops were mobilizing just north of Iran. Tass accused the American news media of a "premeditated desire to misinform the Western reader" by publicizing the assertions.

Soviet Ambassador Dimitri Polyanski told the Japanese Kyodo news service in Tokyo that some of the estimated 90,000 Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan may be withdrawing "in the near future" unless China and the United States "try to escalate" tensions there.

However, Afghan President Babrak Karmal was quoted by the London Times as seeing a longer stay:

"The day reactionary Pakistan, chauvinist China, imperialist America and Britain and Zionist Egypt are defeated in their ugly plan to dismember Afghanistan, the Russians will be back," he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in Geneva that one of its delegates visited 42 political prisoners in a Kabul prison this week and was able to speak freely with them.

The Red Cross spokesman said 15 detainees had been freed since president Babrak put the number of political prisoners at 57 on Jan. 23. It has been widely conjectured that the number actually is at least in the hundreds.