Several explosions in central Kabul kill at least 8 and injure 31

A series of strong explosions rocked the center of Kabul on Saturday, November 21, coming in particular from rockets falling near the green zone where embassies and international companies are located. They are “several rockets”, confirmed the spokesman of the police force of the Afghan capital, Ferdaws Faramarz. Photos on social media appear to show damage to the exterior wall of a large medical complex.

“At around 8:40 am this morning, terrorists fired 23 rockets into the city of Kabul. According to initial information, 8 people were killed and 31 others injured, ”Interior Minister Tariq Arian’s spokesman said. The explosions occurred in densely populated areas, including near the central green zone and in a northern neighborhood. No claim has yet been made. Alarms have sounded from embassies and businesses in and around the Green Zone, a fortified neighborhood that is home to dozens of international companies and their employees.

The Interior Ministry also said two small “sticky bomb” explosions were reported earlier Saturday morning, including one that hit a police car, killing a policeman and injuring three others.

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire in a statement. With “28 Katyusha rockets”, the “caliphate soldiers targeted the green zone […], where the building of the Afghan presidency are located, the embassies of the Crusader countries, and the headquarters of the Afghan forces, ”said the statement published on the Telegram channels of the jihadist organization.

The explosions come ahead of meetings scheduled for Saturday in Doha, capital of Qatar, between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and negotiators from the Taliban and the Afghan government, which he is to see separately. A wave of violence has rocked Afghanistan for months.

The Taliban pledged not to attack urban areas under a US military withdrawal agreement, but officials in Kabul have accused insurgents or their epigones of other recent attacks in the capital. Earlier in the week, the Pentagon announced the upcoming withdrawal of some 2,000 troops from Afghanistan, accelerating the timetable established in an agreement signed in February in Doha between Washington and the Taliban which confirmed the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. mid-2021.

American withdrawal

President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to end “endless wars,” including in Afghanistan, the longest intervention in American history, launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001. President-elect Joe Biden, on a rare common ground with Donald Trump, also wishes to end the war in Afghanistan.

Read also Afghanistan: Kabul, the campus of horror

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators launched peace talks in mid-September in Qatar, but progress has been slow. Officials, however, told Agence France-Presse on Friday that a breakthrough is expected to be announced in the coming days.

In the past six months, the Taliban have carried out 53 suicide bombings and unleashed 1,250 explosions, which have left 1,210 dead and 2,500 injured among civilians, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq said this week. Arian.

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