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Eight civilians dead in brazen Kabul rocket attacks

The strikes on Kabul happened in a densely populated area, and widely condemned as violation of international humanitarian law

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: At least eight civilians were killed and 31 others were wounded when a barrage of rockets struck densely populated parts of Kabul city, security officials said. It comes on the heels of an already bloody month for the city.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said 23 rockets hit downtown on Saturday morning. “The rockets were fired from Tahya Maskan area of 17th PD and 4th PD between Charahi-e-Gul Sorkh and Charahi-e-Market from two vehicles at around 8:45am local time Wednesday morning that killed eight civilians and injured 31 others.”

Mr. Arian immediately blamed the Taliban group for the attack, saying “terrorist incident is a clear enmity of terrorists with the Afghan people.” However, the Taliban denied that the insurgent group was involved in the attack.

Security officials found a burning min-bus with launch tubs in its bed. The vehicle was used to fire the munitions in different parts of the city. This is not the first incident in its nature. The Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh terrorist group used a similar attack in March when the group fired mortars toward the city. One of the rockets landed inside the presidential palace during presidential inauguration. The Daesh group did not claim responsibility for the rocket firings so far.

The wreckage occurred at the time when reportedly Afghan government and Taliban negotiating members have agreed over the framework for the ongoing peace talks. The talks faced enormous challenges as both sides failed to iron out differences. However, it seems they resolved the obstacles recently, though they started talks in September.

Rocket attacks on Kabul come during a particularly bloody month. On November two, three gunmen stormed Kabul University, killing at least 22 people, mostly the students. Prior to that, a suicide attacker targeted an educational center in western parts of Kabul city, in which nearly 30 students were killed and dozens other were wounded.    

President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the brazen rockets attack in Kabul and said that a joint combat and the UN Security Council strategic support from the combating against terrorist is required to suppress international terrorism.

In a statement issued by Presidential Palace, he President Ghani said that UN Security Council enduring support from strategy of combat against terrorism and peace process of Afghanistan will lead to a political solution way.    

Reduction in violence and accepting a durable ceasefire in the country will pave the ground to get close to peace, which is the most need and priority as well as pave the condition to fight the second waves of Coronavirus, the statement added.     

According to the statement, President Ghani ordered officials to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the attack. He wishes quick recovery to the wounded people and expresses condolence with the victim families.  

Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has strongly condemned cowardly rocket attacks on civilians in some parts of the Kabul city. “My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time. Terrorizing and targeting the civilians must stop.”

UNAMA in Afghanistan also condemned the attack.  “Deeply shocking and deplorable that civilians should be subjected to such indiscriminate attacks. Those responsible must face justice. Our thoughts are with the bereaved and wishing recovery to all those injured in Afghanistan.”

Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu extended his heartfelt condolences to the victims of Wednesday’s rocket attacks in Kabul. “We condemn the heinous acts against the ordinary people. All the international community should work harder and make stronger efforts to realize real peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

US Chargé d’Affaires, Ross Wilson also condemned rocket and IED explosions in Kabul. “Afghans should not have to live in terror. My condolences to the victims and those families of those killed and wounded. The United States will continue to work with our Afghan partners to prevent such attacks and hold their perpetrators to account.”

Moreover, the UK in Afghanistan also condemned the attack. ‘We are shocked by the rocket attacks in Kabul. Yet more indiscriminate violence towards innocent civilians. Those responsible must be held to account. We stand with the people of Kabul and Afghanistan who have suffered for too long.’

The European Union in Afghanistan termed the rocket attacks targeting common and innocent people in central parts of Kabul is a horrendous act and violation of International Humanitarian Law, which they strongly condemned. “We stand with the people of Afghanistan longing for peace and a daily life without violence.”

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