Rockets attack near Kabul airport were meant to target US Defence Secretary James Mattis: Taliban

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At least one civilian was killed and four were injured after multiple rockets attacked the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Wednesday,  News reported. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said that its target was United States Defence Secretary James Mattis.

The rockets landed shortly after Mattis and the chief of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kabul. Later in the day, three explosions were reported near the airport.

Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesperson Najibn Danish said the rockets were fired from Qala-e-Mir Abbas area and Paktia Kot area. The second rocket hit a civilian house, and killed one person, he said.

Initial reports indicated that around 20 rockets landed at the airport around 11 am and surrounded it, but the target could be the NATO base nearby, Tolo News reported. But other reports said there were only six rockets.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said that the Crisis Response Unit and special forces brought the airport attack under control. Many flights have been cancelled or diverted, and the airport was evacuated.

Mattis and Stoltenberg’s unannounced visit comes about a month after United States President Donald Trump had promised to send more troops to Afghanistan to fight terrorism, AFP reported.

Mattis is the first member of Trump’s cabinet to visit Afghanistan since the announcement. The visit comes amid the Afghan security forces’ struggle to defeat the Taliban.(Agencies)

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