Afghan refugees are claiming that Soviet forces have used poison gas to kill rebels opposing the Marxist government in Kabul, according to the Defense Department. The Pentagon sources said the reports from refugees, including a defecting Army officer, described Soviet use of nerve gas in five provinces.
US intelligence experts said there was "a high probability" that the reports were accurate. They said the Russians were recently observed moving chemical decontamination equipment through Afghanistan.
The chemical the Soviets are believed to be using is Soman, the same type US intelligence experts believe was used by Soviet-supplied Vietnamese forces against Laotian tribesmen last year.