Barrage of rockets fired at Kabul airport to coincide with Mattis visit Photograph:( Reuters )
Taliban on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, saying that US Defense Secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were their targets
The Taliban on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, saying that US defense secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were their targets.
The "target was US secretary of defense James Mattis.", Afghan TV channel Tolo News reported the Taliban as emphasising.
Two more explosions were reported as having taken place near the airport following the earlier rocket attacks.
A barrage of about 20-30 rockets were fired on Wednesday morning at the international airport, Afghan media reported.
The incident, which occurred at 11.30 am happened shortly after US defense secretary James Mattis arrived in the Afghan capital for talks, an official said.
The airport, located in the heart of Kabul, has been evacuated and all flights have been cancelled for now.
"A rocket landed near the airport this morning. No casualties reported," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said in a tweet.
Eyewitnesses in the 9th police district said that a house was used for the attack and several rockets were fired at the airport. The security forces have cordoned off the house and a search operation is underway.
The Kabul airport is five kilometers from the city centre. It serves as one of the country's largest military bases, used by the United States Armed Forces and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The military of Afghanistan also has a base there, while the Afghan National Police provide security inside the passenger terminals.