Jihadi Attack on Afghan Airport Misses James Mattis by Hours

James Mattis North Korea US India US india ties Nirmala Sitharaman

The target of the airstrike was a house from where on Wednesday afternoon militants were firing mortars or rockets towards Kabul's airport amid a high profile visit by US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the Taliban fired up to six projectiles at and near the airport, hitting both the global and the military sector of the sprawling hub and also two civilian houses nearby.

Mattis at a press conference elsewhere in Kabul called the attack a "criminal act by terrorists" and the reason why the U.S.is fighting the Taliban.

Rockets and mortar shells slammed into Kabul's global airport and surrounding neighborhoods Wednesday, killing one person and injuring 11 others while Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief were in town to discuss ways to stabilize Afghanistan.

In reply, Afghan Special Forces counterattacked a trio of bombers, who holed themselves up in a nearby building.

Pentagon officials tell CBN News Mattis had left the airport by the time the attack started, and no casualties have been reported.

A US military official told CNN that up to 40 rounds of munitions, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades, hit Hamid Karzai International Airport hours after Mattis landed for an unannounced visit.

"If in fact, this is what they have done, they will find the Afghan Security Forces continuing on the offensive against them in every district of the country right now", he added.

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Mattis will meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and discuss ways to implement President Donald Trump's strategy of winning the war in Afghanistan with President Ashraf Ghani.

"We will not abandon Afghanistan to a merciless enemy", he said, referring to the persistent threat posed by the Taliban insurgency.

Earlier this week SIGAR criticised USA efforts to train Afghanistan's security forces, saying they were being hampered by slapdash instruction, shoddy oversight and failures in governance.

In September, Mattis confirmed that over 3,000 new U.S. troops will be headed to Afghanistan as part of the new strategy to win the war.

Within that speech, Mattis called the Taliban "a merciless enemy" that the USA would not allow "to kill its way to power".

"We are not quitting this fight", Mattis said from Kabul, according to news reports.

He said, "Sooner the Taliban realises that they can not win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end." he said.

General John Nicholson, head of United States forces in Afghanistan, said the new USA policy had lifted the spirits of Afghan troops while putting the Taliban leadership in "disarray" as they digest news of an indefinite U.S. commitment. "If NATO forces leave too soon, there is a risk that Afghanistan may return to a state of chaos and once again become a safe haven for global terrorism".

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