Defense Minister and Army Chief Of Staff Step Down

The Kremlin claims that the Taliban is fighting ISIS while the Afghan government remains idle, a narrative Nicholson has dismissed as false. The assailants randomly sprayed bullets on the troops in one of the deadliest attacks in the war-torn nation's recent past.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warned of "another tough year" in Afghanistan as he arrived on an unannounced visit Monday, hours after his Afghan counterpart Defence Minister Abdullah Habibi and army chief Qadam Shah Shaheem resigned.

Ghani traveled to the base in Balkh on Saturday from where he strongly condemned the attack, according to a tweet from the official Twitter account of the presidential palace.

Shortly after Mattis landed, militants carried out a suicide attack aimed at a joint US-Afghan military base in the southeastern province of Khost, officials said.

"But some sources say the toll was even higher".

The brazen attack was the largest ever by the Taliban on a military base and involved gunmen dressed in army uniforms that penetrated the base and then gunned down unarmed service men and set off suicide vests.

Referring to the Russians again, Nicholson said "anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw" isn't focused on "the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation".

However, since US combat troops mostly withdrew in 2014, the pace of Taliban attacks has remained consistent across the country year-round.

But he had little immediate information on any damage or casualties.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault.

Mattis, the first member of U.S. President Donald Trump's cabinet to visit the country, was meeting with officials of the U.S.'s joint mission with NATO Operation Resolute Support, as well as Afghan government and security officials, including President Ashraf Ghani. More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed and injured in the attack, according to the Defense Ministry.

He said Afghan soldiers and security forces "have my personal assurance that we will continue to stand with them".

Almost 9,000 United States troops remain in Afghanistan, in addition to thousands of global coalition forces.

Nicholson has said he needs "a few thousand" more troops to break what he has described as a stalemate.

In the 1980s, Russian Federation fought its own war in Afghanistan, losing thousands of troops to insurgents supplied with advanced US weaponry, such as shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.