Cambodia Table of Contents
In the late 1980s, a Vietnamese military contingent of 140,000 troops, and a Khmer force--a surrogate for the Vietnamese--of 30,000 to 35,000 troops, which comprised the KPRAF of the new government in Phnom Penh, maintained tenuous control over the heartland of Cambodia. This territory included the population centers, the fertile rice-growing area around the Tonle Sap, and the main arteries of communication (see Population, ch. 2; Agriculture, and Transportation and Communications, ch. 3). The combined Vietnamese-KPRAF military effort was opposed by disunited and factious but persistent insurgent forces belonging to each of the three components of the tripartite Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK--see Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, ch. 4). The insurgents had the capability to conduct long-range combat or reconnaissance patrols with as many as 100 troops. They could engage in small-scale propaganda missions, raids, and ambushes against poorly armed targets, such as militia outposts, and in sabotage against stationary, infrastructural objectives, such as bridges and railroad tracks. They lacked sufficient troop strength, heavy weapons, trained leadership, and dependable logistical support, however, for sustained combat operations. From their jungle havens deep within the country and from their bases near the Thai border, the insurgents were reputed to range widely throughout Cambodia. Verifiable guerrilla actions, however, were confined to the northwestern provinces of Batdambang and Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey (the two provinces were combined into one by the government of the People's Republic of Kampuchea prior to 1980), which continued to be the centers of insurgent activity. Most foreign observers in the late 1980s assessed the military situation as being at a stalemate. The rebels lacked the capability, actual or potential, to drive out the Vietnamese occupation force, while the combined Vietnamese-KPRAF armies, at foreseeable force and equipment levels, were incapable of destroying the CGDK guerrilla units.
Data as of December 1987