One killed as multiple rockets hit Afghan capital

Three rockets land near Kabul airport and seven in residential areas, leaving one civilian dead and two others wounded.

A series of rockets has struck the Afghan capital, killing at least one person and wounding two others – the second such attack to rock Kabul in less than a month.

“This morning, 10 rockets were fired from the Labe Jar neighbourhood of Kabul,” interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters on Saturday.

He said three rockets landed near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport and seven in residential areas, leaving one civilian dead and two wounded.

The rockets fired from a vehicle parked on the northern edge of the capital hit the compound of Kabul airport, slightly damaging a Kam Air aircraft.

Kam Air, which began in 2003 and provides domestic and international flights, is Afghanistan’s first privately owned airline.

A window of one of the aircraft parked at the airport was damaged by a ricocheting piece of a shell, according to an airport official who did not want to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The plane was empty and no one was hurt.

No group took immediate responsibility for the attack and the target was not immediately clear.

Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent months, with several deadly attacks carried out in Kabul, despite the Taliban and the government engaging in peace talks since September in Qatar.

On November 21, eight people were killed when 23 rockets hit the capital in an attack claimed by an ISIL (ISIS) affiliate.

The ISIL affiliate also claimed two deadly assaults in Kabul that targeted educational centres, including one on Kabul University that saw gunmen spraying classrooms with bullets.

Authorities blamed the attacks on educational centres on the Haqqani network, an affiliate of the Taliban.

United States’ outgoing President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to end “forever wars” including in Afghanistan, the longest-ever US conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In November, the Pentagon said it would pull 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full withdrawal by May 2021.

The deal also stipulates that the insurgents will not target key cities in the country, although Afghan authorities have blamed them for such attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement with Trump, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war, although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

In the past six months, the Taliban has carried out 53 suicide attacks and 1,250 bombings that killed 1,210 civilians and wounded 2,500 others.

SOURCE : AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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