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Rocket Lands in Diplomatic Area of Kabul

  • VOA News

Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 21, 2017.

A rocket landed in the heart of the government and diplomatic area in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, hours before U.S. President Donald Trump was scheduled to announce his strategy for the war in the South Asian nation.

Police said the rocket landed late Monday on a secure road just outside the presidential palace and near an area housing Afghan government offices, foreign embassies and the headquarters of the international military coalition.

The blast set off warning sirens in the highly fortified area, but there were no reports of casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. However, the Taliban last week warned Trump not to send more troops to the war-weary country.

Insurgent groups, including the Taliban and Islamic State, have launched several deadly assaults around the country in recent weeks.

Since NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, Afghan troops and police have struggled to beat back the resurgent Taliban, and Islamic State.

General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has requested thousands of U.S. soldiers be deployed in Afghanistan to help combat the militants.

U.S. troops there now number about 8,400, well below their presence of more than 100,000 six years ago.

They mainly serve as trainers and advisers to Afghan forces. There are another 5,000 soldiers from NATO allies helping with the operation.

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