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Asia-pacific

Several rockets fired on Kabul

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-04

Suspected Taliban insurgents fired several rockets across Kabul early on Tuesday, a day after a massive suicide attack rocked the western city of Herat. Taliban rebels have stepped up attacks in a bid to disrupt the upcoming presidential vote.

AFP - Eight rockets struck the Afghan capital Tuesday, including one that landed near the US embassy, wounding a man and a child, the government said, raising tensions just over two weeks before elections.


  
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the dawn attacks, saying its fighters targeted Afghan soldiers and the Kabul international airport.
  
The city has not seen a significant attack in months but there are fears the Taliban and other insurgents will strike in the lead-up to the August 20 presidential and provincial council elections.
  
Eight rockets landed in various parts of the city, at least one of them in the US embassy's neighbourhood and others near the airport and in the east, the interior ministry said.
  
One child was wounded from shattered glass and a man was also hurt, but it was unclear how, ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP.
  
A ninth rocket was discovered and defused, he said, blaming the attack on the "enemies of Afghanistan" -- a catch-all phrase for the various militants behind an insurgency.
  
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said militants from his group fired nine rockets into the city.
  
There are periodic rocket attacks on Kabul but they rarely cause casualties or significant damage.
  
Kabul was hammered by scores of rockets daily during the civil war of the early 1990s.
  
The elections, in which President Hamid Karzai leads a field of 41 candidates, is seen as a landmark step in US and NATO-led efforts to build democracy in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban.
  
Kabul's Western allies have deployed thousands of extra soldiers to secure Taliban strongholds in the south to safeguard against concerns that violence could thwart inclusive voting.
  

Date created : 2009-08-04

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