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Kabul rocket strikes intended for Kerry: Taliban

The Taliban militant group claims that US Secretary of State John Kerry was the intended target of recent rocket attacks in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

In a statement Sunday, the militant group claimed responsibility for the Saturday attacks, saying they were aimed at Kerry, who made a surprise visit to Kabul.

At least three explosions rocked the diplomatic area of the Afghan capital after Kerry left the city following meetings with Afghan officials including President Ashraf Ghani.

Gunshots were also heard but the exact cause of the explosions was not immediately clear.

There was no additional information to verify the Taliban’s claim.

According to Al Jazeera, rockets hit near the presidential palace and a compound housing the US embassy and the CIA.

Afghan government spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said no casualties resulted from the attacks.

Before the strikes, Kerry said in a joint statement with Afghanistan’s president, “We call on the Taliban to enter into a peace process … that provides equal rights protection for all Afghans and brings to an end the violence.”

The Afghan government hopes to jump-start stalled peace talks with the Taliban. The two sides met last summer, but the talks were stymied following the announcement of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

John Kerry (2nd L) meets with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (R) at Dilkusha Palace in Kabul on April 9, 2016. (AFP photo)

Late last month, an explosion close to diplomatic missions, including the US embassy, in Kabul wounded one person.

In February, a bomber also killed 20 people at a police headquarters in the Afghan capital.

The Taliban said they carried out the bombing in the west of the city which also left at least 29 others wounded.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity 15 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

The war removed the Taliban from power but militant attacks are still rampant in the country despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.


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