Rockets Land Near Kabul Presidential Palace During Eid Prayers
President Ashraf Ghani and others in the vicinity had to stop the prayers after multiple loud explosions shook the area, TV reports said.
KABUL: (UrduPoint/UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News-July 20th, 2021) Rockets landed near the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eidul Adha, a live television broadcast showed.
The footage shown on local media showed that participants panicked after the explosions.
Tolonews reported that the rockets were fired from Parwan-e-Se area in Kabul’s District 18 in north of the city. "The rockets landed in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan and Chaman-e-Hozori areas in Kabul’s District 1 and Manabe Bashari area in Kabul’s District 2," it added.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, it was the first rocket attack on Kabul since the Taliban launched a series of offensives to coincide with the final drawdown of foreign troops from the war-wracked country.
The early morning holiday calm was shattered by the sound of incoming rockets heard across the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses the presidential palace and several embassies, including the US mission.
He said three rockets appeared to have been fired from a pickup truck.
"Based on our initial information, we have no casualties."
The presidential palace was attacked last year as hundreds of people gathered to watch President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration ceremony, prompting some to flee.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the two blasts, with no reports of casualties.
It also comes a day after more than a dozen diplomatic missions in Kabul called for "an urgent end" to the Taliban’ military offensive, saying it was at odds with claims they want to secure a political deal to end the conflict.
- Little progress -
"The Taliban’s offensive is in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement," the statement read.
"It has resulted in 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 Taiban make battlefield gains.
A joint statement late Sunday said they had agreed on the need to reach a "just solution", and to meet again next week.
"We also agreed that there should be no pause in the negotiations," Abdullah Abdullah, who oversees the Afghan government’s delegation, told AFP on Monday.
Following the weekend summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his administration hoped to start talks with the Taliban over the group’s refusal to let Ankara run the Kabul airport after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
Turkey has been negotiating with US defence officials over an offer to secure the airport, which is key to allowing countries to retain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal.
Last week, the Taliban called Turkey’s offer "reprehensible".
Over the weekend, the Taliban’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said he "strenuously favours" a political settlement -- even as they continue their offensives.