GENEVA, APRIL 14 -- With the United States and Soviet Union acting as guarantors, Pakistan and Afghanistan today signed a set of agreements under negotiation for nearly six years providing for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan by next Feb. 15.
"History has been made today," said Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who flew overnight from Washington to put his signature on the accords together with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. The accords provide no cease-fire in the fighting.
"For over eight years, the Afghan people have suffered a brutal war that has brought unmeasurable death, dislocation and destruction. The world community has long sought to remove the cause of this agony -- the Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan," Shultz said at a news conference after the signing ceremony in the old League of Nations council chamber.
Overseeing the brief signing ceremony were U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and his top political aide, Diego Cordovez, the chief mediator in the indirect negotiations between Pakistan and the Soviet-backed Kabul government, which Pakistan has refused to recognize.
Perez de Cuellar called the accords, which take effect May 15, "a major stride" toward peace in Afghanistan and said he was "confident that the signatories of these agreements will abide fully by the letter and spirit of the texts and that they will implement them in good faith."
However, both the United States and Pakistan immediately made clear that they are not ready to abide by "the letter and spirit" of the accords unless the Soviet Union carries out its troop withdrawal exactly as promised and cuts off all its military aid to the Kabul regime.
They also made clear that they regard the Afghan government that signed the accords as "illegitimate" and unworthy of diplomatic recognition.
This gave the whole ceremony something of an unreal quality, with two signatories of the accords stating publicly that they intend to violate some of the key provisions under certain circumstances and refusing to recognize the legitimacy of one of the other signatories.
Shevardnadze, at a press conference held separately from Shultz's, put a different emphasis on the meaning of the accords, saying that they represent a "political settlement of the situation around Afghanistan." He also stressed that Pakistan and Afghanistan are assuming "treaty obligations" to end all interference in each other's affairs "in any form whatsoever."
While the United States and Pakistan view the main achievement of the four interlocking Geneva accords to be the withdrawal of the 115,000 Soviet troops present in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union and the Soviet-backed Kabul government clearly see it as cutting off arms for the Afghan resistance from the United States through Pakistan.
"Only irresponsible political figures can ignore, reject or violate the norms and principles of the settlement," Shevardnadze said in what appeared to be a warning to Pakistani leaders to end the flow of American arms to the Afghan resistance through their territory.
Shevardnadze said he had told Shultz "openly and honestly the U.S. has no right to deliver arms" to the resistance any more. "There's no doubt that if the U.S. does that it will complicate a political settlement," he said.
Continued Soviet supplies to the Kabul government, on the other hand, are "on a legitimate basis" because of longstanding treaties between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, he said.
The first agreement, signed between Pakistan and Afghanistan, commits both sides to "refrain from the promotion, encouragement or support, direct or indirect, of rebellious or secessionist activities" against each other. They also pledged to refrain from making "any agreements or arrangements with other states designed to intervene or interfere in the internal and external affairs" of each other.
Signing the accords were Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zain Noorani and Afghan Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil.
Even as the United States and Pakistan were signing the accords, Shultz and Noorani were making it clear that this act did not represent U.S. and Pakistani recognition of the Kabul government or an end to their support for the Afghan resistance.
They also made it clear the United States will simply ignore the nonintervention provisions of the accords and continue sending arms to the resistance if the Soviets send military supplies to the Kabul government.
At his press conference, Shultz released a statement submitted to Perez de Cuellar before the ceremony making clear the U.S. interpretation of its agreement to act as a guarantor of the accords.
The statement said that Soviet compliance with the promised withdrawal timetable is "essential" to ending foreign interference in Afghanistan but that the United States had told the Soviet Union it retains the right "consistent with its obligations as guarantor to provide military assistance to parties in Afghanistan. Should the Soviet Union exercise restraint in providing military assistance to parties in Afghanistan, the U.S. similarly will exercise restaint."
The statement also said that by signing on as a guarantor of the accords, the United States did not intend to imply "in any respect" recognition of the present Kabul regime as "the lawful government of Afghanistan."
Shultz sidestepped the question of whether the United States already recognizes the Afghan government by virtue of having a functioning embassy in Kabul.
Noorani sent a letter to Perez de Cuellar also reaffirming Pakistan's nonrecognition of the Kabul government and saying its position was the same as that of the United States regarding continuing aid to the Afghan resistance if the Soviets supply the Kabul regime.
Asked whether Pakistan would now close resistance military training camps on its territory, Noorani said that there are only refugee camps and the rebels need no training because "there is no Afghan today who needs training in warfare."
He dodged questions abut how Pakistan could live up to the noninterference terms of the accords and still help the resistance by allowing U.S. arms to pass through its territory.
He said it was "squarely on the shoulders" of the Soviets to avoid this by cutting off their own supplies to Kabul and he called the U.S-Pakistani commitment to continue sending aid to the resistance if Moscow resupplies its Afghan ally "a restraining factor" on the Soviets.
The Geneva accords have four parts, signed by different sets of countries. The first is between Pakistan and Afghanistan and contains detailed provisions barring all kinds of interference in each other's affairs.
The second is a declaration on international guarantees, signed by the United States and Soviet Union. The third is another Pakistani-Afghan accord, on the voluntary return of the estimated 5 million Afghan war refugees living in Pakistan and Iran.
The last agreement, signed by all four countries, concerns the interrelationship of the three others and ties them to the Soviet troop withdrawal timetable. The withdrawal is to begin on May 15, with half of the Soviet troops gone by Aug. 15 and all of them within nine months.
The fourth agreement also contains a "memorandum of understanding" regarding the mandate for a 50-person U.N. observer team being set up to monitor the Soviet withdrawal and the noninterference provisions.
The chamber where today's signing took place saw another ceremony 34 years ago, when France signed an agreement providing for its withdrawal from Indochina. The building is now called the Palais des Nations and houses the United Nations' European headquarters.
April 1978: The Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan overthrows the Afghan republic headed by Mohammed Daoud and installs Nur Mohammed Taraki as president. Daoud, his family and hundreds of his supporters are killed. The armed noncommunist resistance begins.
Feb. 14, 1979: U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs is kidnaped and killed in Kabul.
March 12, 1979: The National Liberation Front, a Moslem group, calls for a jihad, or holy war, against the Kabul government.
July 1979: The Soviets deploy their first combat unit in Afghanistan, just north of Kabul.
September 1979: Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin gains control of the government after a shootout at the presidential palace.
October 1979: The official Kabul news media announce Taraki's death.
Late December 1979: A massive Soviet airlift involving thousands of troops begins. Soviet commandos attack the presidential palace, Amin is killed and Babrak Karmal becomes president.
January 1980: The Soviets deploy 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan. (Troop strength eventually reached 115,000, according to western estimates.) The United Nations General Assembly votes 104 to 18 for a resolution demanding an "immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of foreign troops."
June 1982: In Geneva, U.N. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Diego Cordovez conducts the first indirect peace talks between officials of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kabul represents the Soviets and Islamabad speaks for the Afghan resistance.
April 1984: Soviets, for the first time, conduct saturation bombing of guerrilla strongholds and villages.
August 1984: Pakistan lodges protests with the Kabul government over repeated aerial bombing and cross-border shelling.
May 1985: The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London estimates the Soviets have suffered 20,000 to 25,000 casualties in the five-year-old war. In Peshawar, Pakistan, fundamentalist Moslem guerrillas join a grouping of moderates to form a seven-party Islamic alliance.
May 1986: Karmal steps down, reportedly for health reasons. Western observers contend it is due to Moscow's dissatisfaction at his failure to defeat the armed resistance. He is succeeded by Najibullah, a former chief of state security.
July 1986: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announces plans to withdraw six regiments from Afghanistan. Washington later says the forces mainly were unnecessary antiaircraft units, and were replaced by armored regiments.
September 1986: Guerrillas reportedly receive their first U.S. Stinger and British Blowpipe antiaircraft missiles. Within months, they reportedly shoot down an average of one enemy aircraft a day.
January 1987: Najibullah declares a unilateral cease-fire as part of a new program of national reconciliation. It is ignored by both sides, and the guerrillas reject any power-sharing with the communists.
October 1987: A survey conducted by Geneva University professor Marek Sliwinski for Gallup Pakistan estimates that more than 1.2 million Afghans have died in the war. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 2.9 million Afghans have fled to Pakistan and 2.3 million to Iran.
December 1987: One of Gorbachev's chief advisers tells reporters he expects the Soviet Union to pull out of Afghanistan in 1988.
January 1988: Pakistani President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq declares his acceptance of some communist involvement in a future Afghan government as the price for a Soviet withdrawal. Cordovez begins a 20-day diplomatic shuttle mission between Islamabad and Kabul.
February 1988: Gorbachev offers to withdraw Soviet troops beginning May 15 and ending 10 months later, if a Geneva accord is signed by March 15. Cordovez meets for the first time with Afghan guerrilla leaders. He concludes his shuttle mission in Islamabad, announcing near-agreement on terms of a Soviet pullout and a new round of Geneva talks starting March 2.
March 1988: Indirect talks between Islamabad and Kabul resume with U.S. and Soviet delegations standing by. Agreement is reached that Soviet troop withdrawal must be completed within nine months once it starts. But negotations continue past Gorbachev's March 15 target date.
April 1988: Agreement is reached for signing an accord in Geneva on Soviet troop withdrawal, return of refugees and other issues.
SOURCE: Associated Press