Death toll at three from rocket attack in Kabul: Ministry

A damaged car is seen after a rocket attack in Kabul on Aug 18, 2020.
A damaged car is seen after a rocket attack in Kabul on Aug 18, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KABUL (AFP) - A rocket attack that struck Kabul this week as the city marked Afghanistan's independence day killed at least three people, including two members of President Ashraf Ghani's honour guard, officials said on Wednesday (Aug 19).

Fourteen rockets were fired into central Kabul on Tuesday as the country celebrated the 101st anniversary of its independence, with one of the missiles slamming into the compound of the Arg presidential palace.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said three people, including two government employees, had been killed in the strike.

He did not specify who the employees were, but two palace officials told AFP on condition of anonymity they were members of Mr Ghani's honour guard.

Another six honour guard members were wounded when the rocket hit the palace compound shortly after Mr Ghani had wrapped up his ceremonial duties.

The Arg palace is in a highly fortified area of the capital that also houses several embassies.

Mr Arian said 16 other people were wounded in the rocket salvo, including four children and a woman.

No group has so far claimed the attack, which came as the Afghan government and the Taleban are poised to begin peace talks.

Mr Ghani's swearing-in ceremony on March 9 was also interrupted by rocket fire near the palace. No serious injuries were reported at the time.

In August 2018, multiple rockets were fired in Kabul, including at the presidential palace where Mr Ghani was making a speech. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed responsibility.

On Wednesday, two people were killed in separate bomb attacks in Kabul, police spokesman Ferdows Faramurz said.

The two sticky bombs - a homemade explosive attached to vehicles with magnets - targeted a military vehicle and one belonging to the education ministry, he added.