At least three rockets landed in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Tuesday minutes ahead of President Ashraf Ghani’s address to the nation marking the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, reports AFP. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
According to interior ministry spokesperson Mirwais Stanikzai, the three rockets seem to have been fired from a pickup truck and all the rockets hit different parts. “Based on our initial information, we have no casualties,” he said.
This was the first rocket attack on Kabul since the Taliban launched a series of offensives against the civilian government of Afghanistan since the final drawdown of US troops from the war-ravaged country.
Tuesday’s early morning holiday calm was shattered by the noise of incoming rackets across the fortified Green Zone in Kabul that houses the presidential palace and several embassies, including the US mission.
Minutes after the attack, President Ashraf Ghani addressed the nation in the presence of some of his top officials.
Tuesday's attack coincides with a sweeping Taliban offensive across the country as foreign forces wind up a troop withdrawal scheduled to be complete by August 31.
It also comes a day after more than a dozen diplomatic missions in Kabul called for “an urgent end” to the insurgents’ ruthless military offensive, saying it was at odds with claims they want to secure a political deal to end the conflict.
The statement comes in the wake of another round of inconclusive talks in Qatar’s capital Doha over the weekend between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“The Taliban's offensive is in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement. It has resulted in loss of innocent Afghan lives, including continued targeted killings, displacement of the civilian population, looting and burning of buildings, destruction of vital infrastructure, and damage to communication networks,” the statement read.