USA will watch Pak's choices over new Afghan policy: Mattis

Casey Dawson
September 30, 2017

Mattis' visit came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against the Taliban who have gained ground as they seek to re-establish their brand of Islamic law after their 2001 defeat. Rockets hit two civilian homes close to the airport.

The US military admitted on Wednesday night that one of two missiles fired back at militants had missed its target, killing at least one civilian and wounding an undetermined number of others.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi said the Taliban captured Maruf for a few hours and after removing weapons and other items they left the district.

The airstrike was launched in response to a Taliban attack at or near the worldwide airport in Kabul on Wednesday. "I want to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy for them is through a negotiated settlement", he said.

In response to the attack, the US conducted an airstrike to support an Afghan crisis unit on the ground, but "one of the missiles malfunctioned", causing injuries to Afghan civilians, the USA -lead coalition said in a statement. Though no US personnel were injured, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said one Afghan woman was killed and 11 civilians were wounded in the incident.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg agreed with both Mattis and Ghani saying that this is a regional approach, which includes both Pakistan and India.

Mr Stoltenberg claimed: "If Nato forces leave too soon, there is a risk that Afghanistan may return to a state of chaos and once again become a safe haven for worldwide terrorism".

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The spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry says at least five civilians have been wounded in a rocket attack at Kabul's worldwide airport.

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 them nearly a $1 billion each year.

While ISIS also claimed responsibility for the attack, that doesn't necessarily mean the group had any involvement in carrying it out.

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.

The city's district police chief, Ali Ahmad Attahye, said the blast was so powerful that the vehicle, which belonged to the ministry's counter-terrorism deportment, was completely burned. He said the insurgents mined the area around the base to prevent authorities from sending in reinforcements.

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