SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) Two terror groups are claiming responsibility for a rocket attack in Afghanistan that targeted U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Terrorists fired 40 rounds of ammunitions at the airport in Kabul, where Mattis was landing.
To weigh in on this attack and what it means for Mattis and our country, Integrated Studies professor Greg Jackson from UVU joined Good Morning Utah with Emily Clark.
Insurgents attacked Afghanistan’s Kabul airport during a visit by retired general and current U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The insurgents hit the airport with as many as 40 rounds of munitions, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades. They also detonated a number suicide vests. Secretary Mattis and his delegation had already left the airport hours before the attack, remaining unharmed. Afghan special police successfully fought the insurgents with support from a US airstrike.
Insurgents were killed. Additionally, a “missile malfunction” caused civilian causalities.
Mattis and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly called for a peaceful Afghanistan. Mattis stated the US will send another 3,000 troops to assist in training the Afghan military. This is in addition to President Trump’s strategy of allowing greater latitude and flexibility to US commanders in using firepower in Afghanistan.
Both the Taliban and ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban specified that Mattis was the target.
ISIS and the Taliban have the same motivation to claim responsibility, regardless of whether they really orchestrated the attack or not: even if a failure, the attack demonstrates the ability of the responsible party to mount an attack against a key US leader.
Both groups are Sunni-based fundamentalist terrorist groups, but they differ in regions occupied and ultimate goals. The Taliban is in Afghanistan, where it has ruled significant parts of the country since the Afghan Civil War of the 1990s. The US has been fighting it since shortly after 9/11-nearly 17 years. The Taliban wants to rule in Afghanistan and is considered open to negations by some. ISIS holds territory in Syria and Iraq, though it has terrorist cells elsewhere in the world. It has only been a prominent player since 2014. Unlike the Taliban regional aspirations, ISIS claims to be a caliphate and to have authority over all Muslims in the world.