x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Rockets land in US embassy compound in Kabul, no injuries

Two rockets land inside US embassy compound in Kabul, causing no casualties but underlining Afghanistan's continuing security problems.

KABUL // Two Taliban rockets landed inside the US embassy compound in Kabul yesterday, causing no casualties but underlining Afghanistan’s continuing security problems.

Taliban militants, who have been fighting the US-backed government since being ousted from power in 2001, claimed responsibility for the attack, which included at least one other strike in the city.

Rocket attacks in Kabul have been rare in recent years, but the insurgents have vowed to step up pressure on the US and Afghan authorities before next year’s presidential election in April and the withdrawal of US-led Nato combat forces.

A statement from the US embassy said it was investigating the attack.

The mortar rockets sent US diplomats rushing for shelter as the heavily-fortified embassy in the city centre sounded its emergency sirens and loudspeakers broadcast a “duck and cover” alarm warning.

Another rocket landed near a hill where former kings and members of the old royal family are buried in a large mausoleum, a spokesman for the National Directorate of Security said.

In a text message, the Taliban claimed the rockets caused heavy casualties, but the insurgents regularly make exaggerated claims after attacks.

Previous Taliban mortar attacks on Kabul have lacked accuracy, and the Christmas Day attacks will raise concerns that the militants have improved their ability to launch and direct the rockets.

Kabul has seen a drop in insurgent attacks in recent months after a series of high-profile strikes earlier in the year, with the NDS claiming to have foiled several plots to launch complex assaults involving truck bombs and suicide gunmen.

*Agence France-Presse