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Mattis, NATO chief emphasize their commitment to resolve Afghan conflict

Even as Taliban launched a rocket attack in Kabul, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg reiterated their commitment to resolve the crisis in Afghanistan. Mattis is the first cabinet level officer in Trump administration to visit the war ravaged Afghanistan. Earlier, Trump had said that US will not leave Afghanistan and it will also be adding more troops in the country. The Taliban are apparently not happy with Mattis’ visit, which is why the rocket attack was carried out by them. The rockets hit a house quite near the Kabul international airport, just a few hours after Mattis has landed in the country. Five people were injured in the rocket attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the attack was meant to hit Mattis’ plane.

The attackers and their location have been identified and they are currently being pursued by security forces. The US has limited options since the Taliban have been gaining strength after US-led NATO troops were withdrawn at the end of 2014. Afghanistan’s indigenous forces are unable to deal with the growing firepower of Taliban. The US cannot quit now since it can create another Islamic State. Mattis will discuss various issues and possibilities with Afghan officials including training of Afghanistan military. The assistance that US forces will be providing to Afghan forces will also be discussed. Apart from US, 15 NATO members have also agreed to send their troops to Afghanistan.

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