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Taliban and ISIS Take Responsibility for Rocket Attack Targeting U.S. Secretary of Defense

Both the Taliban and ISIS have claimed responsibility for a failed rocket attack at Afghanistan’s main airport Wednesday which targeted Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said via Twitter that the Taliban launched the attack at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport with the main target being Mattis, reports CNN.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that ISIS also took credit for the attack through its Amaq news agency.

According to Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danis, five civilians were injured, including one critically. Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jeans Stoltenberg, who were in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit, left the airport hours before the attack.

ABC News reported that up to 40 rounds of munitions struck the airport, 29 of which were rocket-propelled grenades.

Danis said the rockets were fired from an unknown location and landed in an open area.

Mattis’ trip was not publicized, but two Taliban commanders told NBC News that “insiders” in the Afghan security community and at the Kabul airport had leaked Mattis’ plans to them.

“We fired six rockets and planned to hit the plane of U.S. secretary of defense and other U.S. and NATO military officials,” said one of the commanders.

“We were told by our insiders that some losses were caused to their installations but we are not sure about James Mattis,” the commander added.

Mattis remarked on the attack during a news conference with Ghani and Stoltenberg, saying that he only heard reports but “an attack on an airport anywhere in the world is a criminal act by terrorist.”