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At Least 10 Wounded In Rocket Attacks As Afghanistan Marks Independence Anniversary

Smoke rises after a rocket attack in the city of Kabul, during Independence Day celebrations in Kabul on August 18.

KABUL – Afghan officials say at least 10 people were wounded after a series of rockets hit residential and diplomatic areas in Kabul as the country celebrated the 101st anniversary of its independence.

The Interior Ministry said on August 18 that a total of 14 rockets were fired from two vehicles and that two suspects were arrested in connection with the incident.

The blasts shook the main diplomatic district, which sources were quoted as saying was quickly placed under lockdown as embassy workers took cover.

One of the rockets landed near the guard of honor unit in the palace, a source at the palace was quoted as saying.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place as the United States is withdrawing troops while trying to usher in peace talks between the Taliban and the Western-backed government in Kabul to end nearly 19 years of war.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he wasn't aware of the attacks.

The Islamic State extremist group's affiliate that operates in Afghanistan has interrupted national celebrations in the past with rocket fire.

Reports said the rockets were fired shortly after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani laid a wreath at the Minaret of Independence at the Defense Ministry to mark the end of Afghanistan's 1919 War of Independence, also known as the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

Fought between Afghan and British-Indian forces, the conflict reestablished full Afghan independence after decades of British control over Afghan foreign policy.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AP

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