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01 October 2017, 12:52 | Myrtle Vega
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A US airstrike that led to several civilian casualties in Afghanistan was the result of a missile malfunction.
Fighters holed up in a nearby building continued to resist security forces, the interior ministry said, and sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard from the vicinity of the airport for hours afterwards.
"Discussions will focus on the NATO-Afghanistan partnership, including the ongoing NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in support of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces", a statement on Resolute Support's Facebook page said on Wednesday. No further information on the strike or its consequences was immediately available.
Mattis landed in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg, and was met with several rockets landing in and around the airport, local police reported.
The attack forced authorities to cancel all flights. The spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said several civilians have been wounded in a rocket attack at Kabul's worldwide airport as Mattis and Stoltenberg are in Kabul. According to ISIS AMAQ news agency, IS "infiltrators" used SPG-9 rockets and mortars to target Kabul airport. "There was no damage to the aircraft", said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
The barrage included at least 12 rockets fired from at least two locations, according to police. "An investigation into the attack and the malfunctioning ammunition has begun", it added.
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Wednesday's succession of rocket attacks in Kabul did not alter Mattis's movements, and he later flew to Forward Operating Base Gamberi east of Kabul, where he spoke to U.S. troops who are training Afghan security forces.
Mattis said Washington supports a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and Afghanistan.
Mattis's comments were backed up by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was also in the country for a series of meetings alongside Mattis and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The visits by Mattis and Stoltenberg come as US President Donald Trump has allowed the deployment of another 4,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
Ghani said the Taliban can choose either align with worldwide terrorism or renounce violence and join a peace process with the government.
It was the Defense secretary's first visit to Afghanistan post-Trump's announcement of his South Asia strategy in August.
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