NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has criticised European allies for refusing to send more troops to Afghanistan to match US efforts to step up operations there, saying the refusal was not good for the "political balance" of the mission.
The decision to close a US air base that is vital to supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan is "final," a Kyrgyz government spokesman said. White House sources say the United States is working to "remedy" the decision.
Tajikistan and Russia say they will allow NATO nations to transport non-military supplies through their territories to Afghanistan. The offers come as Kyrgyzstan said its decision to close a key regional US base was final.
President Dmitry Medvedev (pictured) announced Wednesday that Russia and six other ex-Soviet states will form a common defence force. The Collective Security Treaty Organisation is widely seen as aimed at countering the influence of NATO.
After 40 years outside the NATO command structure, France is expected to fully reintegrate into the organisation. Pais is hoping for the command of two major NATO structures, but military officers say it is not yet a done deal.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared Afghanistan the top US military priority Tuesday, in face of a worsening security situation. Gates said the Pentagon was exploring options for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq.
A suicide bomber killed 16 people, including 14 children, and wounded dozens more in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, a day after an explosion in the southern province of Kandahar killed two Canadian soldiers and two Afghans.