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    Taliban rockets target Afghan president's palace

22:31 20 July 2021 Author :  

At least three rockets hit near the presidential palace on Tuesday shortly before Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was to give an address to mark the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

There were no injuries and the rockets landed outside the heavily fortified palace grounds, said Mirwais Stanikzai, spokesman for the interior minister.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, but police quickly fanned out across the area. One car parked on a nearby street was completely destroyed; the police said it was used as launching pad for the rockets.

The palace is in the middle of a so-called Green Zone that is fortified with giant cement blast walls and barbed wire, and streets near the palace have long been closed off.

The barrage came as the US and Nato complete their final withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Many Afghans are worried whether their war-ravaged country will fall deeper into chaos and violence as foreign forces withdraw and the Taliban gain more territory on the ground, having captured several districts and key border crossings with neighbouring countries over the past weeks.

The withdrawal is more than 95 per cent complete and the final US soldier will be gone by August 31, President Joe Biden said in an address earlier this month.

Amid the flaring violence and Taliban offensive, Afghan Army Chief Gen Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai is expected to pay a three-day crucial visit to India from July 27 to explore boosting bilateral military ties, people familiar with the development said on Tuesday.

Gen Ahmadzai is scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with the top Indian military brass including his counterpart Gen MM Naravane and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, they said.

President Ghani has stressed that “the Taliban have no intention and willingness for peace... We have proven that we have the intention, the willingness and have sacrificed for peace.”

Afghan forces have been complaining about being left without reinforcements and supplies, often running low on food as the Taliban advanced.

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