US Defense Secretary Targeted of Attack in Afghanistan

September 27, 2017 U.S. Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis was the target of a rocket attack on Wednesday on an airport in Kabul. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State or ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in which Secretary Mattis was intentionally targeted.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a news conference in Kabul on Wednesday to show support for the Afghani government under a new strategy which gives U.S. commanders greater freedom to use American firepower against the Taliban. The Trump administration announced plans to send an additional 3,000 troops to help train Afghan security forces.

President Ghani said Mattis left the airport several hours before the attack. Both President Ghani and Secretary Mattis called the attack a “criminal act by terrorists.”

NBC News reports that two Taliban Commanders said members of the Afhgan Security Force and Kabul Airport tipped them off about the unannounced visit by Secretary Mattis and U.N. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the Taliban’s claim of responsibility and said their target was the defense secretary and other U.S. officials. Reuters reports that ISIS in Afghanistan also issued a statement via the Amaq news agency claiming responsibly for the attack.

In February 2005, then U. S. Marine Corps Combat Development Commander, James Mattis made some controversial comments about using force against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway,” said Mattis. “So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you — I like brawling.”

Mattis later apologized for the public remarks.

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