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The New Arab Staff

Diplomats moved into lockdown as rockets strike Afghan's capital Kabul amid Independence Day celebrations

10 civilians were wounded [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 August, 2020

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Embassies in Kabul went into lockdown on Tuesday after multiple rockets hit the capital.
Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul was showered with rockets on Tuesday, prompting foreign embassies in the diplomatic district to go into lockdown as 10 people were wounded during Independence Day celebrations.

“Several rockets were fired from two vehicles,” said Tariq Arian, an interior ministry spokesman.

Fourteen rockets were fired from two vehicles in Kabul, Interior Ministry Spokesman Tareq Arian said, adding that two suspects had been arrested.

"Most of these rockets have hit civilian houses in Kabul," Arian said.

"Unfortunately, 10 civilians including four children and one woman have been wounded."

The diplomatic area was placed under lockdown, sources told Reuters, and embassy workers were put in safe rooms.

“The warning alarm sounded two to three seconds before impact and then there was the sound of the first rocket, then, soon afterwards, another much louder one with a huge boom and shrapnel and bits of concrete fell,” added one of them.

“All diplomatic officials in embassies in the Green Zone have been moved to safe rooms in the diplomatic district until clearance orders,” a senior Western security official said.

Back in March, similar mortar attacks briefly disrupted the oath-taking ceremony of President Ashraf Ghani.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to President Ashraf Ghani on the 101st anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence.

In a statement, the presidential palace said President Ghani met with Russian Ambassador Dmitriy Zhirnov, who relayed Putin’s message.

"I'm confident that the constructive cooperation between the two countries in virtuous fields will be significantly enhanced,' the Russian president was quoted as saying by the ambassador.

Afghanistan was never a part of Britain's empire but it became officially independent from British influence in August 1919.

The rockets come at a crucial time as the Afghan government is set to begin peace talks with the Taliban.

Last week the government revealed it will release 400 “hardcore” prisoners.

“The government ... yesterday released 80 Taliban convicts out of the 400 that the Consultative Loya Jirga sanctioned for release to speed up efforts for direct talks and a lasting, nationwide ceasefire,” said Javid Faisal, spokesman for the National Security Council.

The Taliban previously refused to talk to the government, calling it a US “puppet”.

However they agreed to power-sharing talks under a US deal in which it agrees to withdraw troops in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

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