The Taliban Targeted James Mattis In A ‘Massive’ Rocket Attack On The Kabul Airport

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis made an unannounced stop in Kabul, which has resulted in his first Afghanistan visit since President Trump expanded military action — including the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops within days — in the country. Hours after Mattis’ arrival, dozens of rocket-propelled grenades struck Kabal’s International Airport, and as Fox and Friends reveals in the above clip, the Taliban has now claimed responsibility for this “massive” attack that failed to reach its target.

The attack consisted of 40-45 rockets that were fired at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. It’s not known how the Taliban knew that Mattis would visit Kabul on Wednesday, although Fox News hints that they may have been tipped off by his recent presence in India. No one was injured in this attack, and CNN has more about the Taliban’s rush to claim ownership:

The Taliban has claimed responsibility and said Mattis’ plane was the target of the attack, the Taliban’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, tweeted.

Up to 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport, according to a US military official, 29 of which were rocket-propelled grenades. The nature of the other munitions was not immediately known. The official said the munitions were fired toward a guard tower and hit the south side of the airport.

For what it’s worth, ISIS has also tried to claim responsibility for the attack (according to USA Today), which is generally what the Islamic State does after almost every act of terrorism. They provided no proof of their involvement, and neither has the Taliban, but it’s a safe bet to assume — following a relevant speech that Mattis gave in India — that the Taliban’s ownership of this attack is genuine.

Within that speech, Mattis called the Taliban “a merciless enemy” that the U.S. would not allow “to kill its way to power.” Further, he stated, “I want to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy for them is through a negotiated settlement.” Clearly — and everyone knew this even without a rocket attack on a Kabul airport — the militant organization has no interest in a negotiated settlement.

(Via Fox News, CNN, USA Today & Reuters)