KABUL (Reuters) – Russia has rejected comments by NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, that it has been supporting and even supplying weapons to the Taliban. In an interview with the BBC last week, Mr Nicholson said that Russia had been acting to undermine US efforts in Afghanistan despite shared interests in fighting terrorism and narcotics, with indications that Moscow was providing financial support and even arms. A statement from the Russian embassy in Kabul dismissed the comments as “idle gossip”. Mr Nicholson’s comments were unusually blunt as tensions between NATO members and Moscow grow. Russian officials have said their limited contacts with the Taliban were aimed at encouraging peace talks and ensuring safety of Russian citizens.