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NATO concerned by high Afghan security losses

BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern on Wednesday about the high casualties among Afghan security forces, after a senior US general warned the death toll was becoming unsustainable. Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie has warned that unless recruiting and training improve, local forces will not overcome the current casualty rate. McKenzie has been nominated to lead US military´s Central Command, which oversees the Afghan war. Last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said nearly 30,000 local forces…

NATO exercises cyber defences as threat grows

TARTU: In a nondescript brick building on the snowy edge of Estonia's second city Tartu, soldiers in camouflage tap silently at computers. They are troops manning the 21st century's front line. With its harsh lighting and partitioned desks, the room could be any soulless office. But this is NATO's "cyber range" and these men and women are running the alliance's biggest cyber warfare exercise, an electronic defensive drill dubbed Cyber Coalition 2018. The activity is taking place just 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the…

FM Qureshi condemns killing of US soldiers in IED attack

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of three US soldiers in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Ghazni city of Afghanistan. According to a Foreign Office statement, the foreign minister expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences on behalf of people and government of Pakistan to the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones and pray for swift recovery of the injured. “Pakistan stands in solidarity with the US government and its people in…

Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: NATO

KABUL: Three US soldiers were killed and three wounded by a bomb in Afghanistan Tuesday, NATO said, with the attack claimed by the Taliban as the US tries to ratchet up efforts to engage the militants in peace talks. NATO’s Resolute Support mission would not immediately release any details about the identity of the soldiers, whose deaths took the number of American service personnel to die in the war-torn country this year to 12. A NATO statement said they had been killed when an improvised explosive device (IED)…

US service member killed in Afghanistan: NATO

KABUL: A US service member was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement, bringing the US combat death toll this year to eight. The identity of the service member and details about the incident will be shared at a later stage, said Debra Richardson spokesperson for the Resolute Support in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says there are about 14,000 US service members in Afghanistan. The US military’s mission is focused mainly on guiding and aiding Afghan forces battling the…

NATO kicks off largest maneuvers since Cold War

OSLO: Military forces from 31 countries began NATO’s largest exercise in decades, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland, on Thursday, practicing military maneuvers close to Russia, which itself held a huge military drill last month. As temperatures fell below freezing across training grounds in central Norway, giving a taste of what it means to defend NATO’s vast northern flank, some 50,000 troops, 250 aircraft and 10,000 tanks, trucks and other land-based vehicles were ready. “Forces are in position, they are…

Afghan conflict could be deadlier than Syria in 2018: analysts

The Afghan conflict could overtake Syria as the deadliest conflict in the world this year, analysts say, as violence surges 17 years after the US-led invasion. The grim assessment contrasts sharply with the consistently upbeat public view of the conflict from NATO´s Resolute Support mission in Kabul, and underscores the growing sense of hopelessness in the war-torn country. It suggests that US President Donald Trump´s much-vaunted strategy for Afghanistan is, like those of his predecessors, failing to move the needle…

Russia launches biggest ever war games

Russia launched what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict."

Russia prepares for biggest war games in its history

Russia on Tuesday will launch the biggest military drills in its history involving 300,000 troops as well as Chinese soldiers, in a move NATO denounced as "exercising large-scale conflict". The week-long deployment alongside Chinese and Mongolian armies dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018) will start in eastern Siberia on September 11. It comes at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The…

Currency crisis in Turkey – Qatar offers aid to Ankara

ISTANBUL: The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a U.S. pastor, as Qatar pledged $15 billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira. The White House stance appeared to give Turkish authorities little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges and whose case Turkish officials have said was a matter for the courts. The dispute is one of…