Rockets target diplomatic area in Kabul during President Ashraf’s Eid speech

Security forces bombed a house where they believe the rockets were fired from [Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press]

Upto nine rockets were targeted near the diplomatic area of Kabul, Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was addressing an Eid prayer ceremony. Afghan officials on Tuesday said fighting broke out between security forces and armed groups in the city’s old quarter, in which at least two people were wounded.

The first rocket landed near the presidential palace after which Ghani said, “If they are thinking the rocket attack will keep the Afghans down, they are wrong.” The second hit a NATO compound site and the US Embassy, according to police official Jan Agha.

Military helicopters fired at fighters holed up near the Eidgah Mosque in the capital’s Reka Khana district, where smoke was rising as clashes were under way, according to AFP news agency.

No immediate responsibility was taken up after the attack. Afghan officials, however said that that the Taliban were behind the attack.

“This morning a group of terrorists took over a building in Reka Khana and fired several rockets towards Kabul,” Najib Danish a spokesman for the interior ministry told AFP. After the rocket attack, Afghan security forces destroyed the building where it was believed rockets had been fired from.

The attack is in coherence with the Taliban’s rejection of the conditional ceasefire that Ghani had termed earlier this week, Reuters reported.

Earlier, The Taliban in Afghanistan had for the first time announced a three-day ceasefire over Eid al-Fitr, after the Afghanistan government had, in an attempt to facilitate national reconciliation had announced an 8 day ceasefire from June 12 to June 19. The militant group had then reciprocated by announcing a three day truce starting from Friday on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Fitr, a festival observed worldwide by Muslims.

It was then decided by the Afghan Security Council with chairman Ashraf Ghani that the ceasefire would be extended for another ten days, but Taliban had refused in an online statement.

The temporary ceasefire had earlier been lauded by the UN, the European Union and the US, but had not been able to stay for long. Civil society activist Yasin Negah in a statement to TOLO news stated, “Allowing them (Taliban fighters) to come into the city with guns in their hands is an illogical move, the people must know the details of secret peace talks between the Taliban and the government.”

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