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Soviets sent new troops to Afghanistan, US says

By Associated Press / October 9, 1986



Peking

United States Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger yesterday accused the Soviet Union of secretly sending new forces into Afghanistan while announcing plans to withdraw some of the troops already there, a senior US official said. Yesterday, the Soviet Union defense minister said that a promised withdrawal of six Soviet divisions from Afghanistan would begin Oct. 15 and be completed by the end of the month.

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The US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Secretary Weinberger made the claim in a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Zhang Aiping. He said Weinberger used the word `ruse' to describe what the Soviets have been doing in Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union is estimated to have 115,000 troops in the central Asian country, where they are helping its Marxist government fight Moslem insurgents. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced July 28 that he had ordered six regiments to withdraw by year's end.

The US official said the Soviets had sent new troops into Afghanistan ``in the last several weeks,'' but refused to give further details.