Taliban Claims James Mattis Target of Failed Rocket Attack

 In Foreign, Military

Both the Taliban and ISIS reportedly claimed that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was the target of a rocket and grenade attack on Kabul airport early Wednesday. Fortunately, Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  had already left the airport in helicopters prior to the attack.

Mattis landed at Kabul airport at roughly 11:00 p.m. last night (Eastern time). The Taliban claimed responsibility for the  attack, and said it was targeting James Mattis’ aircraft. Fortunately for them, their “intelligence” was wrong about timing. He had left just hours before.

US Military officials stated that about 40 rounds and 29 rocket propelled grenades hit the airport. Afghan special forces killed three people suspected of participating in an operation near the facility.

ABC reported,

“No U.S. personnel were injured, but Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said five Afghan civilians were wounded in the incident. Three attackers were killed by Afghan special forces in an operation near the airport, Danish said.

According to media reports, Kabul airport chief Yaqub Rassouli said airplane hangars and some helicopters were also damaged…

A Taliban spokesman tweeted that the attack was aimed at the secretary’s plane.

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the rocket barrage.

The Kabul airport halted all flights temporarily after the attack.

“It’s designed to go after generally innocent people to make some sort of statement. This is a classic definition of what the Taliban are up to right now. It defines their approach to how they see their role here and 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. So it is what it is, but it’s also the reason why we band together, and we don’t question what we’re doing here…We will suffocate any hope that Al Qaeda or ISIS or the Taliban have of winning by killing. I want to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy to them is through a negotiated settlement.” James Mattis

 

Featured photo: Secretary of Defense James Mattis, US General John Nicholson, and NATO  Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center back)

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