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Kabul hit by multiple deadly blasts; rocket lands at Iranian Embassy

 KABUL: Multiple blasts have rocked the densely populated parts of Kabul and left a number of civilian casualties, with one hitting the Iranian Embassy in the Afghan capital.


Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said almost two dozen rockets hit Kabul early Saturday, targeting several areas in the northern and central parts of the city, including the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses embassies and international firms.


The barrage of rockets on the Afghan capital, however, left at least eight people dead and more than 30 others injured, with the ministry blaming the Taliban for the deadly attack.


The militants fired 23 rockets on Kabul. "Based on the initial information, eight people were martyred, and 31 others were wounded," Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.


Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz also confirmed the same tolls and details.


The blasts followed two explosions, including one that hit a police car, killing one policeman and wounding three others.


In the past six months, the Taliban militant group has conducted 53 bomb attacks and 1,250 explosions that left 1,210 civilians dead and 2,500 wounded, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.


Kabul was also the scene of two horrific assaults on educational institutions earlier in the month that killed nearly 50 people and injured dozens of others.


The death toll from an assault on Kabul University in the Afghan capital rises to 35 people, most of them students.


The Saturday violence came ahead of a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and negotiators from the Taliban and the Afghan government in Qatar.



 Intra-Afghan peace talks were launched in September but they have made little progress amid differences on some basic issues.


In an agreement reached between the US and the Taliban in February, the administration of US President Donald Trump promised to pull out all its troops by mid-2021 in return for the Taliban to stop their attacks on US-led occupation foreign forces in Afghanistan.


The US Defense Department has reportedly been ordered to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 and the number of forces in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500 by January 15, days before outgoing President Donald Trump leaves office.


The Taliban agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government.


The US invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime in 2001 on the pretext of fighting terrorism following the September 11 attacks in New York. Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since then.

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