Mattis arrives in Afghanistan hours after rockets explode at Kabul airport
KABUL (Reuters) – US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the Afghan capital on an unannounced visit on Wednesday hours after several small rockets exploded in and around Kabul airport, police said.
There were no reports of casualties or damage in the attack which for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Mattis’s visit comes after US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground as they seek to reestablish Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.
Mattis has said that the United States will send an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help train Afghan security forces fighting the Taliban and other militant groups.
Currently there are about 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan. Most are advising Afghan forces but some are involved in operations against the Taliban.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosions at the airport, the group’s AMAQ news agency said, adding that “infiltrators” used SPG-9 rockets and mortars.