At least three rockets hit areas close to the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday morning, AP reported. Visuals of the incident showed President Ashraf Ghani and many others offering prayers for the festival of Eid-ul-Adha even as a blast could be heard in the background.
There were no injuries and the rockets landed outside the heavily fortified palace grounds, said Mirwais Stanikzai, a spokesperson of the country’s interior ministry. The police said that a car that was parked nearby was used as a launching pad for the rockets. It was completely destroyed.
The attack came amid clashes between the Taliban and the Afghan forces which have escalated in recent weeks since the United States-led foreign troops completed their withdrawal from the country. The Taliban have captured several districts and key border crossings with neighboring countries over the past few weeks.
Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the clashes.
In a speech soon after the Eid prayers, during which the blasts took place, Ghani criticised the Taliban. “This Eid has been named after Afghan forces to honor their sacrifices and courage, especially in the last three months,” he said, according to AP. “The Taliban have no intention and willingness for peace. We have proven that we have the intention, the willingness and have sacrificed for peace.”
The Taliban, however, have denied involvement in Tuesday’s rocket attacks, Reuters reported. In a voice message to the news agency, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that its fighters were in a “state of defence” during the Eid holidays.
No other group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.