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Agencies
November 22, 2020

Rocket attack on Kabul leaves eight dead

Top Story

A
Agencies
November 22, 2020

KABUL: At least eight people were killed on Saturday when a barrage of rockets struck densely populated parts of Kabul, the latest big attack in a wave of violence sweeping the Afghan capital.

The salvo slammed into various parts of central and north Kabul — including in and around the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses embassies and international firms — just before 9.00am (0430 GMT).

The Iranian embassy said on Twitter that its main building had been hit by rocket fragments after one landed on the premises. No one in the compound, located just outside the Green Zone, was wounded.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian blamed the Taliban, saying “terrorists” had fired a total of 23 rockets. “Based on initial information, eight people were martyred, and 31 others were wounded,” Arian said, noting the final toll would change.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz confirmed the same tolls and details. The Taliban denied responsibility, saying they “do not blindly fire on public places”.

At least one rocket landed in an office inside the Green Zone, but did not explode. Several buildings sustained damage to walls and windows, including at the large Sana Medical Complex.

“The rocket attack in Kabul city has nothing to do with the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, using the insurgents’ name for Afghanistan. The Taliban are under pressure not to attack urban areas, having pledged not to do so under the terms of a US withdrawal deal signed in February.

Any acknowledgement of overt involvement in such incidents could in theory slow the American pull-out, though outgoing US President Donald Trump has made clear he wants US forces out regardless of the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, Pakistan strongly condemned the rocket attack. “We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and pray for the early and complete recovery of the injured,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“At a time when international community’s efforts towards Afghan peace process were moving forward, it was important to be vigilant against the spoilers who were working to undermine the peace efforts. Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We express our full solidarity and support for Afghanistan and its fraternal people,” the Foreign Office added.