News In Brief

Soviets said to be using 'liquid fire' on Afghans

Soviet forces are bombing Afghan rebels with a tarlike substance that bursts into flames when touched, the authoritative Jane's Defense Weekly said Wednesday. It then continues to burn, ''emitting sickening fumes,'' the magazine said.

''At this stage we don't have the details of its composition,'' a spokesman for the weekly said.

(The Monitor was the first to report, in 1981, that the Soviets were using a tarlike substance, which burst into flame when touched, against the resistance forces in Afghanistan.)

Trucks that have driven over droplets of the liquid have burned completely as a result, Jane's said. ''If dropped on bridges, the first passing vehicle can cause the burning of the entire bridge.''

The article suggested that what it called ''liquid fire'' could be widely and effectively used in a conventional war against NATO countries.

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