Mattis was the target of Afghanistan rocket attack

American student Otto Warmbier center is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang

The NATO mission in Afghanistan on its official Twitter account said that Mattis and Stoltenberg had arrived at the NATO headquarters in Kabul, where they will inspect the global troops and meet Afghan authorities, including President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan officials said three of the attackers were killed and five civilians were wounded in the attack that damaged helicopters and hangars at the airport.

TOLO News quoting Afghanistan airport officials claimed that several rockets were fired at the Kabul airport, which led to the cancellation of dozens of scheduled flights.

Taliban had later claimed the responsibility of the attack and accepted that Mattis was the target of the attack.

The Taliban fired six rockets at Afghanistan's main airport Wednesday, intending to kill Defense Secretary James Mattis, NBC News reported. America is pressing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners to increase their own troop levels in the country to help Afghan forces get the upper hand in the grinding battle against the Taliban and Islamic State.

According to CNN, Mattis had not been fully briefed on the attack before speaking at Wednesday's press conference.




A USA military official told CNN that up to 40 rounds of munitions, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades, hit Hamid Karzai International Airport hours after Mattis landed for an unannounced visit. "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", he explained.

The visit comes as Afghanistan's security forces struggle to defeat the Taliban. At one point, the Afghan forces called in a United States airstrike. "The sooner the Taliban recognizes they can not win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end", he said.

We "may be getting to a point where after many more years of investment we've got an institutional (security force) capable of holding its own in most of the country against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and eventually grinding down the enemy and winding down the war", Hannah told AFP.

Mr Mattis is the first member of Donald Trump's cabinet to visit the country since he vowed to stay the course in America's longest war. The Taliban are now said to claim more territory now than at any time since a USA -led invasion overthrew their regime in 2001.

The U.S. hopes to bolster the training and advising of Afghan forces to break a military stalemate against the Taliban.

The gunbattle with Afghan special forces left 'four of the terrorists dead, ' he said.

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