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Several Explosions Heard In Kabul


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Several explosions were heard in the diplomatic district of the Afghan capital Kabul on August 21, but there was no immediate information on casualties, police say.

The blasts were caused by rockets fired from outside the city, and some fell near the presidential palace, around embassy compounds and government buildings, an anonymous security official told Reuters.

Rockets landed at a time when President Ashraf Ghani was speaking at a Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday prayer ceremony, two days after he declared a "conditional cease-fire" with the Taliban.

The cease-fire was meant to begin on August 20 and run for three months, conditioned upon Taliban participation.

But the Taliban insurgents, according to two senior commanders, rejected the three-month cease-fire offer and vowed to continue its attacks against the government and its foreign allies after Taliban fighters in the north seized nearly 200 hostages from a convoy of passenger buses on August 20.

Ghani heard the explosions and interrupted his message to say: "If they are thinking the rocket attack will keep Afghans down, they are wrong.

"There are groups that continue the violence and with firing of rockets they cannot stop the people of Afghanistan's development," Ghani said.

Police say the first rocket landed close to the presidency, and a second one landed near a NATO compound and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul but no one was hurt.

Officials report at least 12 rockets exploded in the area.

Afghan forces have surrounded a house from where they believe the rockets were fired and an aircraft bombed the location, destroying the home, and killing at least two militants, the Tolo News agency reported. An Afghan military helicopter also fired on the militant hideout, video footage posted by Tolo shows.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and Tolo News

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