Afghanistan's chief delegate to a United National conference unexpectedly denounced the Soviet invasion of his country today in an emotional speech that stunned other delegates and then moved them to wild applause.
"Afghanistan wants friendship with the Soviet Union, but unfortunately the Soviets are violating human rights, killing us, oppressing us all over the country," Akhtar Mohammed Paktiawal told the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting here.
"Afghanistan is not a free country anymore.It is completely dominated by our Soviet friends and it is fighting against this domination," he said.
Paktiawal, 45, whose wife and seven children are in Afghanistan, flew from the Yugoslav capital to West Germany tonight and announced that he would seek political asylum there. Speaking to journalists at the Munich airport, he said he made his dramatic outburst earlier in the day "because someone had to speak up for my people."
Immediately after Paktiawal's statements at the 152-nation conference discussing world communications and the dissemination of news, UNESCO director-General Amadou Mahtar M'bow requested special protection for Paktiawal from Yugoslav authorities.
Paktiawal requested the floor for what everybody expected would be a routine speech on a controversial media resolution adopted at a general meeting of the 152 UNESCO members.
He was expected to take the Soviet line on the resolution that some Western observers fear will further curb the press throughout the world.
"Afghanistan will fight forever for freedom and self-determination," Paktiawal began. "We have the right to live, the right to self-determination. The Afghan people will fight forever.I will tell my government the same thing I told you. I will fight for the rest of my life."
During his speech, Paktiawal referred to his wife and seven children whom he said he would not abandon. He told the conference that he was not seeking political asylum and would return to Kabul.
"I will not seek political asylum," he said. "I am probably in jeopardy if I return, but I must go back. My wife and seven children and other family members are there. If there is democracy in Afghanistan, then nothing will happen to me. If there is no democracy, then something will happen." There was no immediate explanation for why Paktiawal changed his mind.
Paktiawal, who has a master's degree in vocational education from Wyoming State University in Laramie, Wyo., and still wears his class ring, said he said he had spoken spontaneously.
"I spoke immediately," he said. "My concern only was to make the people of the world aware of what is happening in Afghanistan."
The situation in Afghanistan, occupied by an estimated 85,000 Soviet troops who launched an invasion last December, "is getting worse and worse and worse," Paktiawal said.
"We have the problem today and you will have it tomorrow. If you do not care, it will be lost," he told the delegates in an appeal for UNESCO aid.
"We are waiting for the help of UNESCO to get us out of disaster . . . The result of the conspiracy against my country will have a result for all of you."
Paktiawal's speech jolted the assembly and threw into sharp light the controversy that has raged at the conference about a resolution on the media.
Although the American and British delegates spoke of their reservations about the so-called MacBride Report resolution, no one but the Afghan so clearly spoke out about the damages of censorship and government-controlled media.
"The resolution does not ensure the right of communication for individuals. It only ensures the right of communications for governments," Paktiawal said. i
"I am angry at the resolution. In the general conference they talk about free flow of information, but who is taking our voice to other people?"
Communist and many Third World governments, on the other hand, believe the resolution and the conference's approval of a new international aid program for communications are significant steps toward what they call "a new world information order" to replace what they claim are Western-dominated channels of communication and news.
Part VI of the negotiated resolution says that this new order "could be based, among other considerations, on elimination of the imbalances and inequalities which characterize the present situation, elimination of the negative effects of certain monopolies, public or private, and excessive concentrations" of media.