Militants attack Kabul airport during Mattis visit, U.S. strike kills civilians
Suicide bombers and militants firing mortars attacked Kabul’s airport during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday, prompting a U.S. air strike that accidentally killed civilians, officials said, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The clashes and casualties overshadowed a visit intended to demonstrate U.S. support for the Afghan government and provided a sharp reminder of the risks associated with a more aggressive U.S. policy that is expected to increase the number of air strikes.
Hours after Mattis touched down in Kabul, militants fired high explosive ammunition including mortar rounds near the main airport and detonated several suicide vests in an attack claimed by both the Taliban and Islamic State.
Gunmen holed up in a nearby house battled security forces for much of the day.
U.S. forces conducted an air strike supporting an Afghan special police unit fighting the attackers but suffered a “missile malfunction”, causing several casualties, the U.S.-led NATO mission there said. It gave no further details.
“Resolute Support deeply regrets the harm to non-combatants,” the statement said. “We take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties, even as the enemies of Afghanistan continue to operate in locations that deliberately put civilians at very high risk.”
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