The Latest: US general suggests Russia arming Taliban
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to Afghanistan (all times local):
The top American general in Afghanistan is suggesting that Russia is arming the Taliban.
At a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his side, Gen. John Nicholson avoided offering specifics about Russia’s involvement in the Afghan war.
But said he wouldn’t dispute that it includes Moscow providing weapons to the Taliban.
Nicholson also said that in view of the sophisticated planning behind last Friday’s massacre of more than 140 Afghan troops at a military base, “it’s quite possible” that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was responsible.
The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived unannounced in Afghanistan on Monday to assess America’s longest war as the Trump administration weighs sending more troops.
Kabul was the final stop on a six-nation, weeklong tour Mattis said was intended to bolster relations with allies and partners and to get an update on the stalemated conflict in Afghanistan. He is the first member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to visit Afghanistan.
Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander in Kabul, recently told Congress that he needs a few thousand more troops to keep Afghan security forces on track to eventually handling the Taliban insurgency on their own.