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Wednesday, 16 April 1980
Page: 1473

Senator CARRICK -Yesterday Senator Bonnerasked me a question on Afghanistan. I have seen reports speculating that the Soviet Union might depose Babrak Karmal, who heads the Afghan regime in Kabul. I have no information which suggests that the Soviet Union is intending to depose Babrak Karmal, who is a committed pro-Soviet marxist and who sought refuge in East Europe in 1978 after he and a number of his associates fell from former President Taraki 's favour. He is believed to have returned to Kabul under Soviet auspices after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Nevertheless, the fact that there has been speculation does indicate something of the weakness of Karmal 's political position. The Soviet Union has indicated that it is dedicated to supporting the Afghanistan regime rather than Karmal himself. However, it seems clear that any other Soviet appointee would have the same lack of popular support as Karmal. I have no reason to believe that the Soviet Union will cease its efforts to eliminate the insurgency in Afghanistan until it is assured that the Afghan government and army have established firm control of the country under the auspices of the Soviet Union.

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