Afghan leader Babrak Karmal today returned to Soviet soil for the first time since Russian troops installed him in Kabul in the military intervention last December that continues to shake Moscow's world relations.
Babrak, who arrived by Aeroflot jet-liner in Tashkent, the Soviet Central Asian staging area for its units in Afghanistan, is expected Thursday in Moscow for talks with President Leonid Brezhnev and other Kremlin leaders.
According to the official Tass press agency, Babrak yesterday conducted a general review with his own leadership of the situation in his country, where Moslem tribesmen continue fighting against the Soviet and loyal Afghan troops. His visit begins amid reliable Western press reports that Soviet armor has been drawn up around main Afghan army barracks in recent days, apparently to quell serious new defection problems in Afghan army ranks.
The Babrak mission is a new attempt by Moscow to show the world he is a legitimate leader and to break the diplomatic isolation plaguing their efforts to gain recognition for the Marxist regime, especially in the Islamic world.
The Islamic conference, scheduled to meet next month in Anmna, Jordan, refuses to recognize the Babrak government. Only Syria, South Yemen, and the Palestin Liberation Organization support the Babrak government.
Soviet and Afghan propaganda has continued their campaign of blaming the United States and China, working through Pakistan, with seeking the overthrow of the Marxists to expand their own imperialist penetration close to Soviet borders. A daily press staple here is the alleged discovery by loyal Afghans of new caches of arms and ammunition made in the United States, China and Pakistan.