Rocket attack at Kabul airport was attempt to kill Mattis, Taliban says

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The Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that the United States military proceeded with its claims that Russia supported Taliban militants in order to divert global attention from the USA failures in Afghanistan.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish says two of the rockets hit two civilian houses near the airport. One missile hit its target, while the second accidentally struck a structure, killing the one civilian and wounding several others.

Earlier in the day, officials said that 12 members of the Afghan security forces were killed and four others were wounded when the Taliban stormed the governor's compounds in Maruf district in southern Kandahar province the previous evening.

"The Taliban must understand that they can not win on the battlefield and there is much more to gain around the negotiating table", the NATO Secretary General stated.

The airport said two missiles were fired toward the airport at around 11:00 a.m. local time, and the US embassy warns that the attack may still be ongoing. One woman was killed and 11 other civilians were injured by the Taliban shelling.

"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.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have pledged their continued support to Afghanistan and vowed to do everything so the country "doesn't again become a safe haven for global terrorists". Mattis called the attack "a crime" during the news conference, which was broadcast live.

The rocket fire prompted a USA air strike that killed civilians, officials said.

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.

Tumor Shah Hamedi, director of Kabul airport, said all flights were halted as a result of the attack.

Both pledged continued support for the government so the country "doesn't again become a safe haven for worldwide terrorists".

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. Taliban claimed responsibility of the deadly attack.

The fight against extremists is "going on in many places in Syria, in Iraq, but also in the streets in Europe, in United States and, therefore, we have to stand together, we have to work together and we need to be prepared for the long haul, because this is not easy, this will take time", he added.

Farid Bakhtawar, the head of the provincial council, confirmed that 10 police were killed and said the position would be overrun if reinforcements do not arrive soon.

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