Monday, April 24, 2017

Afghan defense chief quits over attack; U.S. warns of 'another tough year'

Afghanistan's defense minister and army chief of staff resigned on Monday after the deadliest Taliban attack on a military base, and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he was "under no illusions" about the problems facing the country.

Mattis, visiting as the United States looks to craft a new Afghanistan strategy, held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, officials and U.S. commanders, who want more troops.

"2017 is going to be another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood, and will continue to stand, shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan against terrorism," Mattis said.

General John Nicholson, the head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, said he was "not refuting" reports that Russia was providing support, including arms, to the Taliban.

A senior U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that intelligence showed Russia was providing money and machine guns to the Taliban.

Russia has previously denied providing any material or financial aid to the insurgent group, but has said it maintains ties with Taliban officials in order to push for peace talks. Moscow has been critical of the United States over its handling of the war in Afghanistan. - Read More, Reuters

Afghan defense chief quits over attack; U.S. warns of 'another tough year'

Top U.S. general in Afghanistan sees Russia sending weapons to Taliban


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