Conflicts & War

At least 5 dead, 25 injured in mortar shell attack on center of Kabul

Kabul, Nov 21 (efe-epa).- At least five people were killed and 25 injured Saturday when more than a dozen mortar rounds were fired into the center of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.

At least 14 rounds of mortars were fired from the rear of two vehicles located in the north of the city, the Afghan Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement.

“Unfortunately these rockets landed in residential areas of the city,” it said.

Ministry of Public Health spokesman, Noorullah Tarakai, told EFE that “so far five [have been killed] and 25 injured… all of them civilians.”

The injured were all transferred to hospitals, and the number of casualties could increase in the coming hours, he warned.

The attack occurred at approximately 8.45 am local time (04:15 GMT), which is rush hour in the Afghan capital.

Most of the rockets landed in areas of the city center, which is also home to most of the government buildings.

So far no insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied responsibility, writing on Twitter that “we do not allow the firing of rockets blindly in populated areas.”

Attacks of this type have been claimed in the past by the Islamic State (IS) terror group, but the government has often linked these bombings to the Taliban.

The attack comes at the same time as peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government in Doha, which have been taking place since September.

“I strongly condemn today’s cowardly rocket attacks on civilian parts of the Kabul city,” chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah wrote on Twitter. “Terrorizing and targeting the civilians must stop.”

The need for progress in the negotiations to reduce violence coincides with the announcement of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving 2,500 military personnel out of the current 4,500 by Jan. 15.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to meet separately with negotiators from the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan in Doha on Saturday, in what could be one of the last meetings of the Donald Trump administration for the peace process in Afghanistan. EFE-EPA


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