Kabul attack: Several killed as rockets hit residential areas

Kabul attack: Several killed as rockets hit residential areas

The number of deaths in a rocket attack that pounded the Afghan capital early Saturday rose to eight, officials confirmed, marking the latest assault in an ongoing wave of violence sweeping Kabul.

He will also meet Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister during the Doha visit.

Any acknowledgement of overt involvement in such incidents could in theory slow the American pull-out, though outgoing US President Donald Trump has made clear he wants US forces out regardless of the situation on the ground.

President-elect Joe Biden, also in a rare consensus supports pulling out troops from the region, however, experts say he will not look for a fast withdrawal as was aimed by Trump.

Abdullah, who shared power in Afghanistan's last government as chief executive and before that as foreign minister, cautioned that "a comprehensive settlement will come as a result of the negotiation between the Afghan government and the Taliban", regardless of any possible new input by the new US administration.

"This is the decision of the U.S administration and we respect it", Abdullah said of the USA decision this week to reduce troops levels in Afghanistan from more than 4,500 to 2,500.

The talks started on September 12 in Doha but nearly immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions, and religious interpretations.

Pakistan has been applauded by both the U.S. and Afghanistan for its role in getting the Taliban to the peace table.

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Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

"After the Afghans, we have the greatest stake in this peace as it will allow for connectivity and trade, bringing prosperity to both Afghans & Pakistanis", he continued.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women's rights is on the line.

The salvo slammed into various parts of central and north Kabul - including in and around the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses embassies and global firms - just before 9:00 am (0430 GMT).

The Iranian embassy in Kabul said its compound was hit by rocket fragments but that no-one had been wounded.

While in Islamabad, Mr Abdullah urged Pakistan's powerful military to press the Taliban to reduce attacks and the level of violence.

The Interior Affairs Ministry said the rockets landed in Wazir Akbar Khan and Shahr-e-Naw areas in downtown Kabul; Chahar Qala, the Traffic Roundabout; the Gul-e-Surkh Roundabout in PD4, Sedarat Roundabout; the Spinzar Road in the centre of the city; near the National Archive road in PD2; Lysee Maryam market; and the Panjsad Family area, TOLO News reported.

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