NATO won’t let Afghanistan become ‘haven for terrorists’: Stoltenberg

In this file photo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 10, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2017
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NATO won’t let Afghanistan become ‘haven for terrorists’: Stoltenberg

BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s plan to send additional troops to Afghanistan, saying the alliance would not let the country become a haven for terrorists.
“Our aim remains to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who would attack our own countries,” he said in a statement.
“I welcome President Trump’s new, conditions-based approach to Afghanistan and the region,” Stoltenberg added, noting that NATO has over 12,000 soldiers stationed in the country.
Trump on Monday cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, backtracking from his promise to swiftly end America’s longest war, begun after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
He said that pulling out of Afghanistan would leave a “vacuum” that terrorists “would instantly fill.”
He did not specify how many soldiers could be sent, but said the assistance was “not a blank check” for the Afghan government.
“We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists,” Trump said.
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO had transferred security responsibilities to Afghan forces in 2014, saying the country now had about 350,000 soldiers and police.
More than 15 countries had pledged additional contributions to the alliance’s mission in the country, he said.
“I am looking forward to discussing the way ahead with Secretary Mattis and our Allies and international partners,” Stoltenberg said, referring to US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.


Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

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Updated 21 May 2018
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Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

BESSEMER CITY, US: A man intentionally rammed a vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with a lunchtime crowd Sunday, killing his daughter and another person and injuring several others, authorities said Sunday.
Bessemer City Police said in a statement that preliminary evidence indicates the man purposely drove into the Surf and Turf Lodge about noon Sunday. Footage from the scene showed emergency crews treating people on the ground outside the restaurant as shocked patrons milled about afterward. Killed was 26-year-old Katelyn Tyler Self, the daughter of the driver and a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Authorities haven’t released the name of the second person who died.
Police said the driver, Roger Self, was arrested after the car had smashed its way fully inside into the restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Authorities did not immediately make clear what charges Self faces though authorities said they were opening a homicide investigation.
The Gaston Gazette identified Roger Self as a businessman from Dallas, North Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Rob Tufano called the crash a “mass casualty” incident, and reports said some of the victims were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. There was no immediate report on the number of injured people or the severity of their injuries.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Photographs taken at the scene showed a shattered opening in a restaurant wall, where the car had smashed inside the building.
The Gaston Gazette reported that wait staff said Self had initially taken his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting, they said. The newspaper identified the vehicle as a sports utility vehicle.
Katelyn Self was a four-year veteran of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Cloninger told The Charlotte Observer. She worked as a corporal in the jail and was off duty when she was killed.
Cloninger choked up as he spoke about the crash.
“We’re suffering a little bit right now,” he said.
A 2017 profile in the Gazette said Roger Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. It said the business opened in 1989 and mostly helped companies investigate employees’ wrongdoing.