Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan out of realization: James Mattis

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Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan out of realization: James Mattis

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary James Mattis said here on Monday, rise in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan were anticipated as terrorists were turning to bombs amid realization that they could not win by ballots.
Speaking to reporters here at the Pentagon, the Secretary said that the international forces in Afghanistan were doing their best to prevent these attacks and have been successful at blocking many of these attacks on innocent people.
The Secretary was speaking to media along with the visiting Defense Minister of Macedonia Shekerinska.
“But unfortunately, once in a while, they get through, because any terrorist organization that realizes it can’t win by ballots and turns to bombs — this is simply what they do: They murder innocent people,” he added.
The Secretary said that these attacks were anticipated and forces knew that there would be tough fighting going forward. “The murder of journalists and other innocent people is a great testimony to what it is we stand for; more importantly, what we stand against.”
“We’ll stand by the Afghan people. We’ll stand by the Afghan government. And the NATO mission will continue, as we drive them to a political settlement,” he added.
Speaking to reporters separately at a briefing a day earlier, Secretary Mattis said that Taliban delayed announcing their spring offensive until very recently as they were taken aback clearly by the new US strategy for the region and the fact that the US forces were going to stay.
“There have been strikes against their financial networks, and then President Ghani came out and said we’re willing to talk, to negotiate and put them on their back foot. I think they’re now trying to recover in the interim.”
He said that it was anticipated that the terrorists would do their best to try to bring bombs right into Kabul.
Several dozen people were killed in recent attacks in Kabul, including nine journalists this week. Two back-to-back suicide bombings were coordinated to target reporters who had gathered to report the first attack.
Secretary Mattis said that terrorists wanted these attacks to be reported as they needed international media to broadcast these kinds of attacks which, he added was setting them on their backfoot diplomatically and militarily.
He said, some of the attacks targeted voting registration centers as Taliban realized the danger of the people being allowed to vote. – APP

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