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The Taliban claims responsibility for Kabul rocket attack targeting Defense Secretary James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis was the target of a failed Taliban rocket attack at an Afghanistan airport on Wednesday, CNN reports. The Taliban fired as many as 40 rounds of munitions, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades, at Mattis' plane in Kabul, although Mattis had already left the airport by the time of the attack and no one was injured.

"An attack on an airport anywhere in the world is a criminal act by a terrorist," Mattis said afterward at a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whom Mattis was in the country to meet. His visit to Kabul on Wednesday had been unannounced.

It was not immediately clear where the rockets had been fired from, although Afghan special forces searched houses around the airport. The rockets "were fired toward a guard tower and hit the south side of the airport," CNN writes.

The attempted attack comes as the Pentagon is getting ready to deploy thousands of additional troops in order to help train Afghan forces and launch counterterror operations against the Taliban and groups linked to al Qaeda. It's believed that within a few months, there will be 15,000 or so U.S. troops in Afghanistan.