Afghanistan's troubled capital, Kabul, was generally quiet today after sporadic firing last night amid reports of a crackdown on members of the minority Shiite Moslem sect, according to Afghan and foreign sources.
Expectations reported earlier from Kabul of a repetition of last week's violent anit-Soviet demonstrations evidently failed to materialize.
A newly organized militia led by Afghanistan's Deputy Prime Minister Assadullah Sarwari was reportedly arresting ad executing Afghan Shiites following house-to-house searches in their neighborhoods in Kabul. The Associated Press quoted Afghan and foreign sources as saying.
The Shiites were suspected of instigating the anticommunist street demonstrations, in which at least 300 persons were reported killed and an estimated 1,000 others injured, AP said.
The official Afghan news agency Bakhtar today denied that the government had executed anyone during what it called "the latest counterrevoltionary disturbances."
The civilian insurrection in Kabul and a week-long shopkeepers' strike that ended yesterday have left the two-month old government of Babrak Karmal more dependent than ever on the military support of the Soviet Union and demonstrated his failure to win popular support, the Reuter news agency reported today from Kabul.
In the view of both Western and neutral diplomats, Reuter said, a Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan now seems more unlikely than ever unless the Kremlin is ready for the first time to abandon the government in Kabul.
In Moscow, meanwhile, the Soviet government appeared to contradict reports that it was prepared to seek a compromise with the West over Afghanistan in which Soviet troops would be withdrawn in exchange for a guarantee of the country's neutrality.
Nevertheless, the French Foreign Ministry announced that two senior diplomats will make a two-day visit to Moscow starting Tuesday to discuss last week's Common Market proposal to declare Afghanistan neutral.
In London, the Foreign Office announced Britain had given the Soviet Union an outline of the neutralization plan.