11 MARCH 1995, Page 26

Refresher course

Sir: In your issue of 4 March Professor Fred Halliday, accused by the Sunday Times of being a KGB contact, has chal- lenged Oleg Gordievsky to 'show a single sentence where I promoted the Soviet cause'. May I refresh his memory? On 3 April 1986, at the height of the Soviet occu- pation of Afghanistan, Professor Halliday wrote in the Guardian: °There is only one viable solution for Afghanistan: that the Kabul government consolidate its position and the Soviet forces then withdraw . . . The West was prepared to recognise the communist regime in Kabul when it came to power in 1978, and should be pre- pared to do so again. A facile "Troops Out" position is as pointless in Afghanistan as it is in Ireland . . The Kabul government is not on the brink of collapse, it has gained some ground in the past year and the USSR is not going to abandon it.' Had western leaders followed Professor Halli- day's advice, Afghanistan would have been 'normalised' like Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland before it, instead of becoming the Soviet Union graveyard. A KGB agent of influence could not have made a better job of it.

Radek Sikorski

Dwor Chobielin, 89-100 Naklo, Poland