At least eight dead in rocket attack in Kabul

The jihadists of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack with "28 Katiusha rockets" in a statement

At least eight people died and 31 were injured this Saturday in a rocket attack, claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), in the center of Kabul, near the Green Zone, where embassies and international companies are located, government sources indicated, reported AFP.

“This morning, around 08:40 AM, the terrorists fired 23 rockets at the city of Kabul. Preliminary information indicates that eight people died and another 31 were injured, ”said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.

The jihadists of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack with "28 Katiusha rockets" in a statement in the afternoon. 

The “Caliphate soldiers targeted the Green Zone […] where the Afghan presidency building, the embassies of the Crusader States and the headquarters of the Afghan [security] forces are located,” said the text, published through the Telegram application.

Earlier, government officials had accused the Taliban of the attack.

However, the insurgent spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, stated that the attack had "nothing to do" with the group. "We do not shoot blindly at public places," he said.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz confirmed the death toll and that it was a rocket attack. A previous balance of the authorities reported three deaths.

Iran's embassy in Kabul announced on Twitter that its main headquarters in the city was damaged in the blasts, but that none of its employees were injured.

Photographs of what appeared to be the impacts of the projectiles on the walls of a medical center circulated on social networks.

The explosions took place in very densely populated areas of the Afghan capital, most near the Green Zone, a practically fortified neighborhood where diplomatic headquarters, the headquarters of large companies and the homes of diplomats and expatriates are located.

The US Charge d'Affaires in Kabul, Ross Wilson, condemned the attack on his Twitter account. "The United States will continue to work with its Afghan partners to prevent such attacks," he said.

Before the shooting, the Afghan Interior Ministry reported that there had been two small "sticky bomb" explosions on Saturday morning, one of which killed a police officer and injured three others. 

The attacks took place hours before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Qatar's capital Doha to meet separately with negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban, amid signs of progress in their negotiations. peace negotiations.

- Withdrawal from the United States -

For months now, Afghanistan has been rocked by a wave of violence. The Taliban promised not to attack urban areas, under an agreement that provides for the withdrawal of US troops, but the authorities of Kabul they accused the insurgents or their followers of recent attacks in the capital.

This week, the US Defense Ministry announced the withdrawal of 2.000 troops from Afghanistan. In the agreement signed in February in Doha by Washington and the Taliban, US troops are expected to be out of Afghanistan in mid-2021.

President Donald Trump promised on several occasions during his tenure that he would end "wars without end," including the one in Afghanistan, the longest military intervention in US history, which began after the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11. 2001 in the United States.

Ending the US military presence in Afghanistan is one of the rare points on which President-elect Democrat Joe Biden also agrees with Trump.

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators began peace talks in mid-September, but progress is dripping.

However, several officials told AFP on Friday that an important advance will be reported in the coming days.

In the last six months, the Taliban have carried out 53 suicide attacks and caused 1.250 explosions, which caused 1.210 deaths and 2.500 civilian injuries, according to figures from the Afghan Interior Ministry.

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