Thursday, 3 Dec 2020

Rockets hit Afghan capital Kabul, killing at least 8

KABUL (REUTERS) – Several rockets hit residential areas in the early rush hour in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday (Nov 21), killing at least eight civilians and wounding 31, police officials said.

The explosions, close to the diplomatic enclave, sent warning sirens blaring from embassies and it comes two days before a major donor conference for Afghanistan in Geneva.

Mr Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said eight civilians had been killed in the attack and 31 wounded.

A health ministry official said five bodies and 21 injured were taken to the hospital from the incident.

Mr Arian said “terrorists” mounted the rockets in a small truck and set them off, adding that the investigation is going on to find out how the vehicle came inside the city.

Some residents filmed when the rockets were firing and posted them on social media. Several pictures circulating on Facebook showed damaged cars and a hole in the side of a building.

A picture of a young brother and sister, whom officials said were killed in their home, was widely shared on Facebook. 

One of the rockets landed in the vicinity of the Iranian embassy and several fragments hit the main building but there were no casualties among the staff, the embassy said in a statement. 

Since peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taleban stalled, attacks by the Taleban and other extremist groups have been on the rise, especially in the capital that is home to more than five million Afghans.

Taleban insurgents, fighting against a foreign-backed Kabul administration, denied involvement in the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to Qatar on Saturday to meet with an Afghan delegation and Taleban negotiators. 

Early this month, several gunmen stormed Kabul University campus and killed at least 35, most of them students and wounded more than 50.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group.

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