At least 8 dead as barrage of rocket fire hits Kabul

At the least eight individuals had been killed Saturday when a barrage of rockets struck densely populated parts of Kabul, officers mentioned, marking the newest assault in an ongoing wave of violence sweeping the Afghan capital.

“The terrorists fired 23 rockets on town of Kabul. Based mostly on the preliminary info, eight individuals had been martyred, and 31 others had been wounded,” mentioned inside ministry spokesman Tariq Arian, who blamed the Taliban for the assault. A police supply additionally confirmed the toll.

The salvo slammed into varied elements of central and north Kabul — together with close to the closely fortified Inexperienced Zone that homes embassies and worldwide corporations — simply earlier than 9:00 am (0430 GMT).

“This morning, the terrorists fired 14 rockets on town of Kabul,” inside ministry spokesman Tariq Arian mentioned.

Photographs and movies circulating on-line confirmed a number of buildings with injury to partitions and home windows, together with at a big a medical advanced.

No group instantly claimed the blasts and the Taliban denied duty.

Current massive assaults in Kabul, together with two horrific assaults on instructional establishments that killed practically 50 individuals in latest weeks, observe a well-known sample within the aftermath, with the Taliban denying any involvement whereas the Afghan authorities pins the blame on them or their proxies.

“The rocket assault in Kabul metropolis has nothing to do with the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned, utilizing the insurgents’ identify for Afghanistan.

“We don’t blindly fireplace on public locations.”

The Taliban are underneath stress to not assault city areas, having pledged not to take action underneath the phrases of a US withdrawal deal signed in February.

Any acknowledgement of overt involvement in such incidents may in principle gradual the American pull-out, although outgoing US President Donald Trump has made clear that he desires US forces out whatever the scenario on the bottom.

The Islamic State group claimed the 2 assaults on instructional centres, however Kabul mentioned the Taliban’s ultra-violent Haqqani community was accountable.

– Pompeo heads to Doha –

Taliban and Afghan authorities negotiators launched peace talks in Doha in September however progress has been gradual and violence has raged throughout Afghanistan regardless.

Officers informed AFP on Friday nevertheless {that a} breakthrough was anticipated to be introduced within the coming days, and the US State Division introduced late Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would meet negotiators from the Taliban and the Afghan authorities in Doha.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to finish “eternally wars,” together with in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever battle that started with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 assaults.

President-elect Joe Biden, in a uncommon level of settlement, additionally advocates winding down the Afghanistan warfare though analysts imagine he is not going to be as wedded to a fast timetable.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon mentioned it could quickly pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, rushing up the timeline established in a February settlement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Up to now six months, the Taliban carried out 53 suicide assaults and 1,250 explosions that left 1,210 civilians lifeless and a couple of,500 wounded, inside ministry spokesman Tariq Arian mentioned this week.

The inside ministry mentioned two small “sticky bomb” explosions had been reported earlier Saturday morning, together with one which hit a police automotive, killing one policeman and wounding three others.