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Rockets Hit Central Kabul Ahead Of Presidential Eid Address

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was giving an address to mark Eid al-Adha.

Afghan officials say at least three rockets have landed in the center of Kabul shortly before President Ashraf Ghani was to give an address to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The rockets landed outside the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses the presidential palace and several embassies, Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai said on July 20.

He said that no injuries were reported.

No one immediately claimed responsibility.

Minutes after the morning attack, Ghani began an address to the nation in which he accused the Taliban of having “no intention and willingness for peace.”

The comments come amid a sweeping Taliban offensive across Afghanistan as U.S.-led international forces complete their final withdrawal from the war-torn country. The pullout is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

They also follow two days of inconclusive peace talks in Doha over the weekend between the Afghan government and the Taliban, during which the sides failed to agree on a cease-fire for Eid al-Adha, the most important Islamic holiday.

However, the two sides said they had agreed on the need to reach a "just solution," and to meet again "next week."

Several times in the past, the Taliban and Kabul government have agreed on short truces during Islamic holidays, raising hopes they could be extended into longer-term cease-fires.

Intra-Afghan peace negotiations in the Qatari capital have been stalled for months, while the Taliban offensive saw the insurgents capture nearly half of the country’s roughly 400 districts, threaten several provincial capitals, and take control of a number of border posts as U.S. and NATO forces exit the country.

This story is based on reporting by Radio Azadi correspondents on the ground in Afghanistan. Their names are being withheld for their protection.

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