MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union announced it is supplying some of its most advanced weapons, including medium-range missiles, to Afghanistan in a bid to counter rebel rocket attacks that the Kabul regime says are being instigated by Pakistan.
In Washington, the State Department Tuesday identified the weapons as surface-to-surface Scud missiles capable of reaching Pakistan, and pointedly pledged its continued 'full support' for Islamabad.
The official Soviet news agency, Tass, said in a dispatch from Kabul the missiles were paraded through the Afghan capital Tuesday.
A statement by the Afghan general staff, released in Kabul and carried by Tass on Tuesday, said 'extremists, instigated by their Pakistani patrons,' have not heeded warnings to stop shelling populated areas in Afghanistan.
'This is why a new kind of weapon, namely long-range missiles with great destructive power, was adopted for service by the Afghan army to defend the territorial integrity and national sovereignty and repel foreign aggression.'
On Monday, Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennnady Gerasimov said Moscow was stepping up arms shipments, including the 'most advanced' weapons in the Soviet arsenal, to Kabul to counter increased Pakistani arms supplies to the anti-communist Islamic guerrillas.
Attacks by the U.S.-backed Mujahideen rebels have escalated since the Soviets began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan under an international agreement that calls for a complete Soviet pullout in February.
It is estimated the rebels control as much as 80 percent of Afghan territory.
Tass said in a dispatch from Kabul 'the powerful long-range weapons supplied to the Afghan army rolled through the streets accompanied by armored personnel carriers.'
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman described the missiles as SS-1 Scuds, the 'B' version of the Soviet-made Scud used by Iran and Iraq in their 'war of the cities' during the Persian Gulf War.
The Scud missiles are officially classified as medium-range weapons, with the standard version capable of hitting targets within 190 miles.
Redman said the State Department believed it was the first time Scuds have been seen in Afghanistan.
Kabul, capital of Afghanistan and seat of the Kremlin-backed government of President Najibullah, has been shelled with greater regularity in the past months as the Feb. 15 date for a full Soviet witdhrawal approaches.
The Soviets have already pulled out 55,000 troops as part of a nine-month withdrawal that began May 15 as specified in the Geneva accords of April.
But the Kremlin has charged that Pakistan has been violating the Geneva agreements by supplying the Afghan rebels with American-made arms.
'In the past month, Kabul was rocketed with ground-to-ground missiles 23 times and it was mostly massed firing,' Tass said. 'Over 150 rockets hit the city.
'A lot of rockets also fell on Jalalabad, an important administrative center of Nangarhar province, last month, and casualties there topped 130,' it said.
Najibullah, who is trying to hold onto power against the rebel insurgency, said the new arms are operational tactical weapns and will be used against centers from which the mujahideen launch rocket attacks, Tass reported.
After eight years of trying to keep a communist government in power by fighting Mujahidden rebels, the Soviets in April signed the Geneva agreements with Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States for a nine-month pullout from the war Mikhail Gorbachev called a 'bleeding wound.'