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Afghan Communist Party reported torn by factions

A new power struggle seems to have broken out in Afghanistan's Communist Party, pitting President Babrak Karmal's wing against a faction with strong support in the armed forces, refugee and diplomatic sources here said.

They said that earlier this month the struggle spilled into a gunfight at the presidential palace in Kabul, leading a senior Communist Party official to make a hurried trip to Moscow. The sources said only sketchy details were available about the gunfight, but two days after the Aug. 5 incident eight bodies were buried in a Kabul cemetery reserved for high-level Communist Party officials. Diplomatic sources said new conscription measures announced this month seemed to set off the latest friction.

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