Mattis arrives in Afghanistan as rockets hit Kabul airport

30 September, 2017, 15:54 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

An Afghan national army soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade during a firefight between Taliban fighters and Afghan and US soldiers from Alpha company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment from Combat Outpost Pirtle King in Kunar province, Afghanistan, July 18, 2011. Mattis called the attack a crime.

The deadly attack on the government and police headquarters in Maroof district was claimed by the Taliban.

One person was killed and 11 others wounded in the assault, which lasted several hours, the Interior Ministry said.

"I want to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy for them is through a negotiated settlement", Mattis told a joint news conference with Ghani and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

At the presser, both Mattis and Stoltenberg pledged continued support for Afghanistan and vowed to do everything possible so the country "doesn't again become a safe haven for global terrorists". 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.

Stoltenberg also said that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has pleaded to increase troop numbers and welcomes Washington's conditions-based approach to Afghanistan.

Both pledged continued support for the government so the country "doesn't again become a safe haven for global terrorists". He said the insurgents mined the area around the base to prevent authorities from sending in reinforcements.

Stoltenberg also said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was committed to funding the Afghan security forces until at least 2020, and would continue to provide nearly a billion dollars each year to the Afghan defense and security forces.

The foreign assistance would give Afghan forces a "compelling battlefield advantage over anything the Taliban stands to mass against" it, Mattis told reporters.

Najib Danish says one rocket hit a nearby home, injuring the five, including at least one woman.

Mattis and Ghani later held a press conference after a closed-door meeting.

The additional American forces would be deployed to expand training of the Afghan military and beef up USA counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida and a growing Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Mattis flew to Kabul from New Delhi where he met his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman, who made it clear that India would not deploy troops to Afghanistan as part of Trump's strategy.

Earlier this year, Ghani ordered a near-doubling of the country's Special Operations Command ─ the elite fighting force spearheading Afghanistan's war against insurgents ─ from 17,000 as part of a four-year plan that also aims to strengthen Afghanistan's air force.



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