Afghanistan: at least eight dead in explosions in central Kabul

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At least eight people were killed on Saturday by rockets that hit central Kabul, near the Green Zone where embassies and international companies are located, government sources said.

“At around 8:40 am this morning, the terrorists fired 23 rockets at the city of Kabul. According to initial information, eight people were killed and 31 others injured, ”Interior Minister Tariq Arian’s spokesman said.

Afghan capital police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz confirmed these details and toll.

The Iranian embassy announced on Twitter that its main building was damaged by the rocket fragments, but none of its employees were injured.

Photos on social media appear to show damage to the exterior wall of a large medical complex.

The explosions occurred in densely populated areas, including near the central Green Zone and in a northern neighborhood.

No claims have yet been made, but Afghan government officials have blamed the Taliban.

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the insurgents, however, said the attack had “nothing to do” with the group.

“We do not shoot blind in public places,” he added.

Ross Wilson, the US charge d’affaires in Kabul, condemned the attack on Twitter.

“The United States will continue to work with our Afghan partners to avoid these types of attacks,” he wrote.

Alarms have sounded from embassies and businesses in and around the Green Zone, a fortified neighborhood that is home to dozens of international companies and their employees.

The Interior Ministry also said two small “sticky bomb” explosions were reported earlier Saturday morning, including one that hit a police car, killing a policeman and injuring three others.

The attack comes ahead of meetings scheduled for Saturday in Doha, the capital of Qatar, between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Taliban and Afghan government negotiators, whom he is to see separately.

A wave of violence has rocked Afghanistan for months.

American withdrawal

The Taliban pledged not to attack urban areas under a US military withdrawal agreement, but officials in Kabul have accused insurgents or their epigones of other recent attacks in the capital.

Earlier in the week, the Pentagon announced the upcoming withdrawal of some 2,000 troops from Afghanistan, accelerating the timetable established in an agreement signed in February in Doha between Washington and the Taliban which confirmed the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. mid-2021.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to end “endless wars,” including in Afghanistan, the longest intervention in American history, launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

President-elect Joe Biden, on rare common ground with Donald Trump, also wants to end the war in Afghanistan.

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators launched peace talks in mid-September in Qatar, but progress has been slow.

Officials, however, told AFP on Friday that a breakthrough is expected to be announced in the coming days.

In the past six months, the Taliban have carried out 53 suicide bombings and unleashed 1,250 explosions, which have left 1,210 civilians dead and 2,500 injured, the Interior Ministry spokesman said this week. Tariq Arian.

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