Rockets Land Near Afghan Presidential Palace, Taliban Deny Responsibility

7/20/2021

Rockets hit the Afghan capital on Tuesday, landing near the presidential palace during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, but President Ashraf Ghani and many others calmly continued praying at an outdoor gathering, television images showed.

Three rockets landed outside the palace, said interior ministry spokesperson Mirwais Stanekzai, adding that there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Taliban insurgents denied they were involved in the attack on the heavily fortified palace. Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters in a voice message the fighters were in a "state of defense" during the Eid religious holiday. Unlike some previous years, the Taliban have not officially declared a ceasefire for Eid this week.

Mujahid did not immediately reply when asked if the Taliban's defensive stance constituted a ceasefire.

Insecurity has been growing in Afghanistan in recent weeks, largely spurred by fighting in its provinces as U.S.-led foreign troops complete their withdrawal and the Taliban launch major offensives, taking districts and border crossings.

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Outlet: 
Reuters