To the Editors of the Crimson:

I'm glad to see that the Crimson printed an article about last Monday's talk on Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan. However, I think that many important points were glossed over or ignored.

There was mention in the article of the "slow extermination" and "depopulation" of the Afghan people. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the means used or the numbers affected. Kurt Lohbeck, a freelance reporter who has spent six months of the past two years in Afghanistan, stated that half a million to a million civilians have been killed by the Soviet army. In addition, four million refugees have fled the country. The Soviet Union has achieved this by means of a ruthless policy in which they level entire villages, burn crops, destroy fields and irrigation canals, kill livestock and use chemical weapons in order to starve the Afghans out of their country.

The Crimson article stated that Ataullah Sadiq, the exiled Afghan student, recounted scenes of the Soviet invasion in his village. But what were those scenes? Ataullah talked about a 15-year-old friend of his who stood up in front of a crowd of students and spoke against the Soviet invasion. Ataullah's friend was shot before he could finish. The boy's body was then carried to his home, where, Ataullah recounted, his friend's mother reacted by saying that "We should all die like this."

The Crimson article stated that Lohbeck criticized U.S. policy as inadequate and unconcerned. It did not state what the alternatives are. The government could arm the Afghans with substantial weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles so that they could combat the new Soviet helicopters which are built, in part, with technology sold to them by the U.S. As it stands now, their bullets literally bounce off the Soviet helicopters.


Something must be done before the horrors of the Holocaust and the Cambodian Killing Fields are repeated. It has already been six bloody years. Next time you see a rally protesting the deaths or imprisonment of a few thousand in South Africa (an honorable cause) think about the four million homeless and one million dead in Afghanistan.

I know that it's cliche, but if everyone that reads this letter would write to the White House or merely tell a few friends about it, maybe we'll be able, this time, to avoid repeating the horrors of the past. Andrew Popell '87