U.S. will watch Pak's choices over new Afghan policy: Mattis

30 September, 2017, 15:54 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • A Kabul resident walks through a damaged house following a NATO air strike

Last month, militants stormed a packed Shiite mosque in Kabul during Friday prayers in an attack that lasted for hours and ended with at least 20 worshippers killed and another 50 seriously wounded, many of them children.

In its written statement, the USA -led coalition expressed regret for the civilian casualties.

The attack comes as US secretary of Defense James Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg are in Kabul for a visit and were scheduled to hold a joint news conference with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

A statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry said that Pentagon's claims on Russia's aid to the Taliban were groundless.

In other violence, hundreds of Taliban insurgents attacked a security post in Afghanistan's western Farah province, killing at least 10 policemen and threatening to overrun the position.

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The city's district police chief, Ali Ahmad Attahye, said the blast was so powerful that the vehicle, which belonged to the ministry's counter-terrorism deportment, was completely burned.

The attack is the latest deadly assault by the Taliban, which has been on the offensive since USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops withdrew in 2014 and now controls large areas across the country.

The attack comes as U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg are in Kabul for a visit and were scheduled to hold a joint news conference with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

USA forces in Afghanistan killed and injured civilians as they lashed out in response to a failed Taliban attack on their country's defence secretary and the head of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

At the presser, both Mattis and Stoltenberg pledged continued support for Afghanistan and vowed to do everything possible so the country "doesn't again become a safe haven for global terrorists". "We'd still put the conflict in this kind of bounds of the stalemate where neither side really has the capability right now to kind of have a decisive victory", the official said.

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"If NATO forces leave too soon, there is a risk that Afghanistan may return to a state of chaos and once again become a safe haven for worldwide terrorism", he said.

Stoltenberg also said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was committed to funding the Afghan security forces until at least 2020, and would continue to provide nearly a billion dollars each year to the Afghan defense and security forces.

Tumor Shah Hamedi, director of Kabul airport, said all flights were halted as a result of the attack. Taliban claimed responsibility of the deadly attack.

"I have seen that several allies are concerned about sanctuaries for terrorists in Pakistan and neighbors should not host terrorist organizations; they should not provide sanctuaries", he said. He said the insurgents mined the area around the base to prevent authorities from sending in reinforcements.

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