Rockets land in Kabul diplomatic quarter

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Projectiles have hit the capital ahead of Independence Day on Wednesday

Smoke rises from a rocket attack during Independence Day celebrations at the Defence Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP Photo

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, centre, arrives during the Independence Day celebrations at the Defence Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP Photo

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

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The National

Aug 18, 2020

August 18, 2020

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Rockets struck Afghanistan's capital of Kabul on Tuesday, including near the main diplomatic district, officials said.

"Several rockets were fired from two vehicles," Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

Blasts shook the diplomatic quarter around Wazir Akbar Khan and Sherpur area of central downtown Kabul. Sources told Reuters the area was quickly placed under lockdown as workers in embassies took cover in safe rooms.

Smoke billowed, alarms shrilled and shrapnel flew, said Reuters witnesses who heard at least four rockets landing near the Green Zone area, home to many foreign embassies and Nato headquarters.

"The warning alarm sounded two to three seconds before impact and then there was the sound of the first rocket, then, soon afterwards, another much louder one with a huge boom and shrapnel and bits of concrete fell," added one of them.

A diplomatic source told Reuters one rocket had landed near a mosque just outside the tightly-guarded diplomatic enclave.

"All diplomatic officials in embassies in the green zone have been moved to safe rooms in the diplomatic district until clearance orders," a senior Western security official added.

Teams were working to establish exactly where the rockets hit and if there were any casualties, an Afghan security official said.

The incident comes ahead of the country’s Independence Day on Wednesday as officials marked the occasion with ceremonies.

It comes as talks between the government and the Taliban are set to start to end the country’s long-running war. The issue of releasing Taliban prisoners has delayed the beginning of negotiations, set to take place in Doha.

The US has been withdrawing troops after making a deal with the Taliban to end the 19-year war.

This is a developing story...

Updated: August 18, 2020 10:32 AM

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