The State Department said yesterday that six years of Soviet military occupation have failed to subjugate the Afghan people, and it reiterated the U.S. view that Soviet forces must be withdrawn before a settlement of the Afghanistan conflict can be negotiated.
Commenting on a report marking the sixth anniversary of the Soviet invasion, Arnold Raphel, deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs, noted that Afghan guerrillas have shown "heightened capability" this year to band together in large-scale attacks against the Soviets and the Soviet-controlled Afghan army.
The report prepared by department analysts said the military situation "can best be described as a military stalemate."
Raphel, saying that the Soviets have suffered 30,000 casualties including at least 10,000 deaths, added: "Our hope is that the Soviet Union is beginning to realize that the only way out of this situation is a negotiated agreement."
But, he added, "we probably won't know for a while" whether Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev plans to move in that direction.
Secretary of State George P. Shultz has said that, at last month's Geneva summit, Gorbachev hinted that Moscow might be taking a new look at intensified negotiation.
For that reason, U.S. officials were especially interested in talks this week in Geneva with U.N. mediator Diego Cordovez acting as go-between in discussions involving Pakistan, which has 3 million Afghan refugees, and the Soviet-installed government of Babrak Karmal in Kabul.
Cordovez said Thursday that three major parts of a proposed Afghanistan peace treaty are near completion but that the thorny issue of Soviet troop withdrawal must be resolved first.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Yaqub Khan added yesterday that he is encouraged by the latest talks in Geneva but that it is too early to tell whether real progress can be expected.
Raphel, commenting on the reports from Geneva, said the United States undestands that Cordovez presented proposals relating to Soviet withdrawal that were not discussed but taken under advisement for consideration at the next round scheduled in February.
He repeated that the United States supports the concept of a four-part negotiated solution that would include withdrawal of all Soviet forces, establishment of an independent and neutral Afghan government, self-determination for the Afghan people and return of the refugees to their homeland.
He reiterated that the Afghan guerrillas have no U.S. arms but refused to discuss whether the United States is providing them covert aid. Reports have persisted for years that the guerrillas have large supplies of old Soviet weapons provided by Egypt with U.S. assistance.
Raphel also charged that the Soviets increased "efforts to intimidate and subjugate the Afghan people through systematic human-rights abuses" this year.
Similar charges were made in a report released yesterday by Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch, related private organizations that seek to monitor human-rights conditions.