News In Brief

Afghan guerrillas report they've struck inside USSR

Muslim Afghan guerrillas fighting a bitter ''holy war'' against Soviet and government troops in Afghanistan's northwestern Herat Province said in interviews here that they have struck inside the Soviet Union itself. And diplomats in Pakistan reported there has been a shake-up in the Afghan military.

According to Sayed Mohammad Kheirhah, who said he was a rebel political officer in the Herat area, guerrilla groups had laid mines on roads, attacked isolated customs posts, and ambushed patrols inside the Soviet Union. Rebel leaders said they had last raided the USSR two weeks ago.

And Western diplomats in Islamabad, Pakistan, said Tuesday the Soviet-backed Afghan government has replaced its military chief of staff and other top officers to boost the Army's ability to combat antigovernment forces.

The appointments have not been announced publicly, the diplomats said, but were apparently connected with a speech by Soviet-installed President Babrak Karmal to military officials Jan. 8 in which he criticized military performance against the guerrillas.

The Defense Ministry's No. 2 spot, taken over by Maj. Gen. Nabi Azimi, had been vacant since May, when his predecessor reportedly beat up Defense Minister Abdul Qader in an argument over Army strategy.

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