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Afghan president slams Taliban; rockets goal Kabul palace

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At the least three rockets hit close to the presidential palace on Tuesday shortly earlier than Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was to offer an tackle to mark the foremost Muslim vacation of Eid al-Adha.

There have been no accidents and the rockets landed exterior the closely fortified palace grounds, stated Mirwais Stanikzai, spokesman for the inside minister.

Nobody instantly claimed duty for the rocket assault, however police rapidly fanned out throughout space. One automobile parked on a close-by avenue was fully destroyed; the police stated it was used as launching pad for the rockets.

The palace is in the midst of a so-called Inexperienced Zone that’s fortified with large cement blast partitions and barbed wire, and streets close to the palace have lengthy been closed off.

The barrage got here because the U.S. and NATO full their remaining withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many Afghans are frightened whether or not their war-ravaged nation will fall deeper into chaos and violence as overseas forces withdraw and the Taliban achieve extra territory on the bottom, having captured a number of districts and key border crossings with neighboring international locations over the previous weeks.

The withdrawal is greater than 95% full and the ultimate U.S. soldier will likely be passed by Aug. 31, President Joe Biden stated in an tackle earlier this month.

“This Eid has been named after Afghan forces to honor their sacrifices and braveness, particularly within the final three months,” Ghani stated in his tackle to the nation following morning prayers for Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice.”

“The Taliban don’t have any intention and willingness for peace” Ghani stated. “We’ve got confirmed that we have now the intention, willingness and have sacrificed for peace.”

Ghani additionally deplored his authorities’s determination to launch 5,000 Taliban prisoners to get peace talks began final 12 months as a “massive mistake” that solely strengthened the insurgents.

“We launched 5,000 prisoners to begin peace talks, however till at present the Taliban have not proven any critical or significant curiosity in peace negotiations.”

Abdullah Abdullah, the No. 2 official within the authorities, was contained in the palace throughout the rocket assault on Tuesday, having returned on Monday from peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar. These contained in the palace, nonetheless, have been far faraway from the place the rockets landed.

The 2 days of conferences in Doha — the best degree of negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban to this point — geared toward jumpstarting stalled talks however ended with a promise of extra high-level talks.

In his speech, Ghani additionally assailed neighboring Pakistan, which Kabul blames for harboring the Taliban management and offering a protected haven and help to the insurgents. In the newest combating within the Afghan border city of Spin Boldak, Taliban fighters have been seen receiving remedy at a Pakistani hospital throughout the border in Chaman.

Pakistan is seen as key to peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban management is headquartered in Pakistan and Islamabad has used its leverage, which it calims is now waning, to press the Taliban to speak peace.

Pakistan has additionally been deeply important of Kabul, saying it has allowed one other militant group, the Pakistani Taliban — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — to search out security in Afghanistan from the place they’ve launched a rising variety of assaults concentrating on the Pakistan army.

“Pakistan doesn’t need a Taliban regime in its homeland” however their media have been “campaigning for a Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” Ghani added.

The Eid al-Adha is an important Islamic vacation, marking the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim — Abraham to Christians and Jews — to sacrifice his son. In the course of the vacation, which in most locations lasts 4 days, Muslims slaughter sheep or cattle and distribute a part of the meat to the poor.

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Related Press author Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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