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Explosion at US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

US Embassy in Kabul (USAID Afghanistan/WikiCommons)
September 11, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A rocket exploded at the Afghan Defense Ministry complex near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

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No injuries were reported at both locations, according to the AP and AFP news agencies.

“A rocket hit a wall at the Defense Ministry, with no casualties reported,” Interior Ministry spokesman Nosrat Rahimi said in a statement.

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Inside the embassy, employees heard the following message over the loudspeaker: “An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound.”

“We can confirm there was an explosion near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul,” a State Department official said. “U.S. [diplomatic] mission personnel were not directly impacted by this explosion.”

The blast comes on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States that ushered in the war in Afghanistan, and just after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that peace talks with the Taliban were “dead.”

Trump gave the assessment of peace negotiations, which had been going on between U.S. and Taliban officials for months, on September 9.

Days earlier he canceled secret talks with Afghan and Taliban officials in the United States in the wake of a car bombing carried out by the militant group in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier.

Trump said he felt that the Taliban had carried out the violence to put them in a better bargaining position in the negotiations.

During a visit to Afghanistan on September 9, U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, indicated to reporters that the United States was likely to increase operations against the Taliban.

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About 14,000 U.S. soldiers remain in the country and Trump has called their ongoing deployment “ridiculous,” including the many billions of dollars spent in the war.

The UN envoy for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said on September 10 that it was “imperative” for peace talks to start “as soon as possible” between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Meanwhile, relatives of 9/11 victims are expected at the Ground Zero memorial near the site of the rebuilt World Trade Center on September 11, while Trump is scheduled to join a commemoration at the Pentagon.

The anniversary ceremonies remember the nearly 3,000 people who were killed when hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.

In addition to being a day of remembrance and patriotism, September 11 is also a day of volunteering.