Soviet-led forces retreat north of Kabul, rebels say

Soviet troops and Afghan government forces have been forced to retreat from the strategic Panjshir Valley, where they have lost as many as 1,000 men in almost three weeks of fighting with Muslim guerillas, Afghan sources say. The rebels claim to have destroyed 80 Soviet tanks in the campaign, while losing only 50 men. the claims could not be confirmed.

Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, West Germany, about 100 Afghans called a dramatic news conference at the airport to announce they had completed a secret four-month operation in which 250 employees of the Afghan airline Ariana fled their Soviet-controlled homeland for the West. Chief pilot Habullah Balchi, his two children at his side, said their flight into exile was kept secret so airline employees could smuggle their relatives out of Afghanistan.

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