More than 20 countries on Monday announced that they were expelling a total of more than 130 Russian diplomats, including 60 kicked out by the United States.
A statement from the Russian embassy in Kabul dismissed the comments as “idle gossip”, repeating previous denials by Russian officials
Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the suicide bomber targeted a “convoy of foreigners” but did not offer further details or clarify whether it was foreign forces who were targeted or contractors.
“The US strikes support Afghanistan in reassuring its neighbors that it is not a safe sanctuary for terrorists who want to carry out cross-border operations,” Afghanistan’s NATO-led mission said in a release.
The administration specifically points to a Russian doctrine known as “escalate to de-escalate,” in which Moscow would use or threaten to use smaller-yield nuclear weapons in a limited, conventional conflict in Europe in the belief that doing so would compel the US and NATO to back down.
Stuart Peach, chief of the defence staff said the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s modernisation of the once mighty Soviet navy now posed a serious threat to Western communications.
The paper also contained several bracketed sentences that had not yet been agreed, including a proposal by the Greens to withdraw the NATO nuclear weapons that remain on German soil, and to ban all weapons sales to countries involved in the war in Yemen.
NATO official said: “Spain is a committed ally, which makes important contributions to our shared security. The Catalonia issue is a domestic matter which should be resolved within Spain’s constitutional order.”
The US Department of Defense said this was the first time NATO’s ‘smart defense’ concept was demonstrated with some ships providing protection to other vessels targeting ballistic missiles.
NATO, which has three of the world’s nuclear powers in its ranks, strongly criticised the treaty, saying it risked undermining the international response to North Korea’s atomic weapons programme.
Stoltenberg said Afghan forces, which have suffered thousands of casualties fighting the insurgency, had been “managing a very difficult situation”.
The visit comes after US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground as they seek to reestablish Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.
The unannounced high-level visit comes as Afghan security forces struggle to beat back the Taliban which has been on the offensive since the withdrawal of US-led NATO combat troops at the end of 2014.
Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region and fighting a Kurdish insurgency on its soil, has warned that any break-up of neighbouring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict.
Stoltenberg said he agrees with Trump that all NATO members need to increase defense spending so there is “fair burden sharing.” Stoltenberg said Turkey is looking into the possibility of buying air defense systems from France and Italy in addition to the one it recently purchased from Russia.