At least three rockets landed near the Afghan presidential palace on Tuesday. President Ashraf Ghani and a group of other leaders marked the start of Eid-ul-Adha with prayers in the garden.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility. It was the first rocket attack on Kabul. The Taliban have launched offensives to coincide with the final drawdown of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The sound of incoming rockets shattered an early morning holiday calm. A heavily fortified Green Zone that houses the presidential palace and several embassies, heard the blasts.
Islam is stronger then terrorists!
The official palace Facebook page also released a video. In it, dozens of men continued with their prayers even when the rockets were exploding nearby.
President Ghani wore traditional Afghan clothing and a turban. He stands at the front and appears to not even flinch as the crowd bows together.
“The Taliban have proved that they have no will and intention for peace,” he said in a speech later.
Interior ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai said three rockets appeared to have been fired from a pickup truck. One did not detonate, he said.
“Based on our initial information, we have no casualties,” he added.
The palace was attacked last year as hundreds of people gathered to watch Ghani’s inauguration ceremony, prompting some to flee.
The militant Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for that attack, with no reports of casualties.
Tuesday’s attack coincides with a sweeping Taliban offensive across the country. Foreign forces wind up a troop withdrawal scheduled to be complete by August 31.
It comes a day after more than many diplomatic missions in Kabul called for “an urgent end” to the insurgents’ military offensive. They said it was at odds with claims they want to secure a political deal to end the conflict.
The statement follows another round of inconclusive talks in Doha over the weekend between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Many hoped would kickstart the ailing peace process.
“The Taliban’s offensive is in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement,” the statement read.
“It has resulted in the loss of innocent Afghan lives, including through continued targeted killings; displacement of the civilian population; looting and burning of buildings; destruction of vital infrastructure; and damage to communication networks.”
For months, the two sides have been meeting on and off in the Qatari capital. But have achieved little, with talks appearing to have lost momentum as the militants make battlefield gains.
A joint statement on Sunday said they had agreed on the need to reach a “just solution”, and to meet again next week.
He noted, however, that neither side was currently pursuing a joint ceasefire during the talks. Despite urgent calls from Afghan civil society and the international community to end the fighting.
The Taliban and government have previously announced ceasefires during some religious holidays.
Following the weekend summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his administration hoped to start talks with the Taliban. The group has refused to let Ankara run the Kabul airport after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
Turkey has been negotiating with US defense officials over an offer to secure the airport. It is key to allowing countries to retain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal.
Fighting, meanwhile, continued in Afghanistan, with both the Taliban and the government claiming gains in various parts of the country. Taliban seek Islamic government in Afghanistan.
In Washington, the State Department said that some 700 interpreters and their family members who are fleeing Afghanistan will be relocated to an army base in Virginia.
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