A man looks up as he reacts to the sounds of rocket explosions landing near the presidential palace, during an outdoor gathering for Eid al-Adha prayers attended by President Ashraf Ghani (front row), in the palace compound, in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 20, 2021, in this still image taken from TV footage. RTA/via REUTERS
July 20, 2021
KABUL (Reuters) -Rockets hit the Afghan capital on Tuesday, landing near the presidential palace during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, officials and media said, but it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
Three rockets landed outside the palace, said interior ministry spokesperson Mirwais Stanekzai, adding that there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The attack interrupted an outdoor gathering for prayers in the palace compound attended by President Ashraf Ghani, television images showed.
The prayers continued amid the sound of explosions, however, and Ghani later delivered a speech from an outdoor podium, broadcast on local media.
Insecurity has been growing in Afghanistan, largely spurred by fighting in its provinces as foreign troops withdraw and Taliban insurgents launch major offensives, taking districts and border crossings.
Unlike some previous years, the Taliban did not declare a ceasefire during the Eid holiday this year.
On Monday, 15 diplomatic missions and the NATO representative in Kabul urged the Taliban to halt offensives, just hours after the insurgents and the Afghan government failed to agree on a ceasefire at talks in Doha.
(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Clarence Fernandez)