At least 8 killed as rockets hit Afghan capital Kabul

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Residents gather at a site after several rockets land at Khair Khana, north west of Kabul. A series of loud explosions shook the city on Saturday. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty
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Several rockets hit residential areas in the early rush hour in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, killing at least eight civilians and wounding 31, police officials said.

The explosions, some close to the diplomatic enclave, sent warning sirens blaring from embassies and it comes two days before a major donor conference for Afghanistan in Geneva.

Tariq Arian, a government spokesman, said at least eight civilians had been killed in the attack and 31 wounded. A health ministry official said five bodies and 21 injured were taken to the hospital from the incident.

Arian said “terrorists” mounted 14 rockets in a small truck and set them off, adding that an investigation is going on to find out how the vehicle came inside the city.

Some residents filmed the rockets being fired and posted them on social media. Several pictures circulating on Facebook showed damaged cars, shattered windows and holes in residential homes.

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People inspect a damaged house after several rockets landed at Khair Khana, north west of Kabul. Some rockets hit near the heavily fortified green zone where many embassies and international firms are based, officials said. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty

A picture of a young brother and sister, whom officials said were killed in their home, was widely shared on Facebook.

One of the rockets landed in the vicinity of the Iranian embassy and several fragments hit the main building but there were no casualties among the staff, the embassy said in a statement.

Since peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban stalled in the Qatari capital of Doha, attacks by the Taliban and other extremist groups have been on the rise, especially in the capital that is home to more than five million Afghans.

Taliban insurgents, fighting against a foreign-backed Kabul administration, denied involvement in the attack.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo travels to Qatar on Saturday to meet with an Afghan delegation and Taliban negotiators.

Early this month, several gunmen stormed Kabul University campus and killed at least 35, most of them students and wounded more than 50.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

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