Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis was the target of Taliban attack on Wednesday, when nearly fifty rockets and grenades were hurled at Kabul’s main airport moments after the Pentagon chief arrived for high-level talks with his Afghani counterparts.
According to Fox News, Mattis had left the terminal less than two hours before the attack, leaving in a helicopter to meet with Afghanistan’s President Ghani. The Taliban took credit for the ambush, saying Mattis’s aircraft was the intended target of the missiles.
The Defense Secretary commented on his close-call earlier Wednesday, saying the United States will “suffocate” any terror organization operating in the region.
“If in fact there was an attack on an international airport anywhere in the world, if it’s an attack by a terrorist it’s designed to go after innocent people… And this is a classic definition of what the Taliban is up to now,” said Mattis.
“We will suffocate any hope that Al Qaeda or ISIS or the Taliban have of winning by killing. I want to reinforce to the Talban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy to them is through a negotiated settlement,” he added.
The Defense Secretary is visiting Afghanistan as part of President Trump’s plan to re-focus American efforts in the region. The United States is forging a new strategy in the 16-year long conflict; pulling back from previous efforts of nation building and doubling-down on the military’s ability to “find and kill” terrorists.