Taliban targets Defense Secretary Mattis with rocket attack at Kabul airport

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(CNN) — Hours after US Defense Secretary James Mattis landed at Hamid Karzai International Airport, multiple rockets hit an open area close to the facility on Wednesday.

The rockets were fired from an unknown location, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. He did not reveal how many rockets were fired.

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

Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had already left the airport at the time of the incident, Danish said. No one was injured.

An Afghan special forces unit was searching houses close to the airport on the suspicion that the rockets were fired from them, Danish added.

Mattis’ unannounced visit Wednesday was his first trip to the country since US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghan strategy in late August.

At a press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Stoltenberg, Mattis said he had only heard some press reports but said “an attack on an airport anywhere in the world is a criminal act by terrorist.”

“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,” Mattis added.

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