On July 20 at around 8 AM (local time), rockets hit the capital city of Afghanistan and landed close to the presidential palace during Eid al-Adha prayers. Reports suggest that it is unclear who was behind the attack. Mirwais Stanekzai, spokesperson, Interior Ministry, said that three rockets landed outside the palace.
They were fired from the Parwan-e-Se region and landed in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan and Chaman-e-Hozori regions located in District 1 and Manabe Bashari region location in District 2 of Kabul.
AFP quoted Stanikzai saying, “Today the enemies of Afghanistan launched rocket attacks in different parts of Kabul city. All the rockets hit three different parts. Based on our initial information, we have no casualties. Our team is investigating.” While officials are shying away from taking Taliban’s name, the fingers are getting pointed at the terrorist group.
Video by national TV shows the moment rockets landed near the Presidential Palace during Eid prayers this morning. pic.twitter.com/WmEniyfLfM— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) July 20, 2021
A video shared by Tolo News shows how the explosions interrupted the outdoor gathering for prayers. Notably, President Ashraf Ghani was also present for the prayers. Amidst the sounds of explosions, the prayer continued.
Later, Ghani delivered a speech from an outdoor podium. He said, “The future of Afghanistan in Afghanistan is determined by Afghans. Afghans should prove in action that they are united. A firm stance by the people for the next three to six months will change the situation. Does the Taliban have any ‘positive response’ to Afghans, especially to women?”
Taliban expansion in Afghanistan
In recent times, American troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan while Taliban militants have been launching major offensive attacks. They are taking over district after district resulting in unrest across the nation.
In previous years, the Taliban had declared a ceasefire during the Eid holiday, but this year no such announcements were made. However, on July 19, NATO representatives in Kabul and 15 diplomatic missions urged the Taliban to stop the offensive attacks after militants and the Afghan government failed to come to an agreement on a ceasefire at Doha.
Notably, Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist working for Reuters was recently killed while he was covering the ongoing tension between the Afghan government and the Taliban.