Rockets landed near Afghanistan’s Presidential Palace during Eid al-Fitr | Daily Headlines Ashraf Ghani News
Officials and media reported that the rocket landed near the Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul during Eid al-Fitr prayers.
Reuters quoted local media reports on Tuesday as saying that there are no reports of casualties. It is unclear who was behind the attack.
Television images showed that despite the huge explosions in the area, President Ashraf Ghani continued to pray.
The national television video shows the moment the rocket landed near the presidential palace during the Eid al-Fitr prayers this morning. pic.twitter.com/WmEniyfLfM
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) July 20, 2021
The sound of the rocket launched at approximately 8 am (03:30 GMT) passed through the heavily guarded green zone, which houses the palace and several embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.
Gani later gave a speech on the outdoor podium and broadcast it on the local media.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Mirwes Stanekzai said that at least three rockets landed in the Afghan capital as the city marked the beginning of the Muslim holiday.
“Today, the enemies of Afghanistan launched rocket attacks in different areas of Kabul City,” Stanekzai said.
“All the rockets hit three different parts. According to our preliminary information, we had no casualties. Our team is investigating.”
The Rockets have targeted the Presidential Palace many times in the past, the last time being in December.
The attack coincided with the Taliban’s full-scale offensive across the country, and foreign troops planned to complete their withdrawal on August 31.
Different from previous years, despite urgent calls from Afghan civil society and the international community to end the fighting, the Taliban did not announce a ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr this year.
On Monday, 15 diplomatic missions and NATO representatives in Kabul urged the Taliban to stop the offensive, just a few hours after the organization and the Afghan government failed to agree on a ceasefire during talks in Doha.
The statement read: “The Taliban’s offensive is in direct contradiction with their support for a negotiated settlement.”
“It has caused the loss of innocent Afghans, including continued targeted killings, civilian displacement, looting and burning of buildings, destruction of important infrastructure, and destruction of communication networks.”
The two sides have been meeting intermittently in the capital of Qatar for several months, but with little success. With the Taliban making full progress, the negotiations seem to have lost momentum.
A joint statement late Sunday said they had agreed to a “just solution” and would meet again next week.
Abdullah Abdullah, who is in charge of the Afghan government delegation, said on Monday: “We also agreed that the negotiations should not be stopped.”
After the weekend summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his government wanted to start talks with the Taliban on the Taliban’s refusal to allow Ankara to operate Kabul Airport after the U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
Turkey has been negotiating with US defense officials on a proposal to ensure airport security, which is the key to allowing countries to retain their diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after withdrawal.
Last week, the Taliban called Turkey’s proposal “reprehensible.”
At the same time, fighting in Afghanistan continues, with the Taliban and the government claiming victory in various parts of the country.
Over the weekend, the supreme leader of the Taliban, Shibatullah Ahunzada, said that he “strongly supports” a political solution even if the organization continues to attack.
As foreign troops prepare for a full withdrawal in late August, the Taliban have been occupying areas, seizing border crossings and surrounding provincial capitals.
In Washington, the State Department stated that approximately 700 interpreters and their immediate family members who fled Afghanistan will be transferred to a military base in Virginia.