Mortar shells strike Kabul, wound at least 10 civilians as Afghans mark Independence Day

Published August 18, 2020
Afghan photographers take pictures of a damaged car after a rocket attack during Independence Day celebrations at Defense Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. — AP
Afghan photographers take pictures of a damaged car after a rocket attack during Independence Day celebrations at Defense Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. — AP

Several mortar shells slammed into various part of Kabul on Tuesday morning, wounding at least 10 civilians as Afghans marked their country’s Independence Day amid new uncertainties over the start of talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government.

No militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Interior Ministry’s spokesperson, Tariq Arian, said a total of 14 mortar shells were fired from two vehicles in the northern and eastern part of the Afghan capital. Four children were among the wounded.

“Most of the mortar shells hit residential houses,” Arian said, adding that an investigation was underway.

According to eyewitnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals, at least one mortar shell landed in the upscale Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood, where diplomats and senior government officials reside.

The attack came a day after the government said it would not release the last 320 Taliban prisoners it holds until the insurgents free more captured Afghan soldiers. The decision went against that of a traditional Afghan council held earlier this month — the Loya Jirga — and is likely to further delay intra-Afghan peace talks sought by the United States.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said he wasn’t aware of the mortar attack in Kabul. The Islamic State group’s affiliate, which operates in Afghanistan, has interrupted national celebrations in the past with rocket fire.

Also on Tuesday morning, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attended an Independence Day ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Kabul, inspecting an honour guard and laying flowers on the Independence Minaret monument there.

Opinion

Editorial

Militancy redux
Updated 12 Aug, 2022

Militancy redux

There is fear and confusion all around, and it is for the state to bring clarity to the situation.
Distorting history
12 Aug, 2022

Distorting history

WHEN history is co-opted by ideologically overzealous elements, expect the facts to die a quick death, and...
Dengue danger
12 Aug, 2022

Dengue danger

WITH rains continuing across most of the country, a dengue outbreak can quickly become a major headache for health...
Khorasani’s killing
11 Aug, 2022

Khorasani’s killing

OMAR Khalid Khorasani, a dreaded TTP ‘commander’, lived by the sword and very much died by the sword. But beyond...
Gross overreaction
Updated 11 Aug, 2022

Gross overreaction

The government has already done considerable damage to itself with its indelicate handling of the situation.
Dadu deaths
11 Aug, 2022

Dadu deaths

DISEASES that are usually mild and preventable in countries with developed healthcare systems often prove to be...