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At least 10 wounded in rocket attacks as Afghanistan marks independence anniversary

A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter crewed by 1st Lt. Chuck Nadd, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Darren Dreher, Staff Sgt. Bruce Kleckner, and Sgt. Jay Herring, all members of Task Force Phoenix, flies a personnel movement mission over Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 4, 2013. (Capt. Peter Smedberg/U.S. Army)

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

Afghan officials say at least 10 people were wounded after a series of rockets hit residential and diplomatic areas in Kabul as the country celebrated the 101st anniversary of its independence.

The Interior Ministry said on August 18 that a total of 14 rockets were fired from two vehicles and that two suspects were arrested in connection with the incident.

Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said those wounded in the attacks included four children and one woman.

One of the rockets landed in the presidential palace compound, wounding six members of President Ashraf Ghani’s guard of honor, officials were cited as saying.

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No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place as the United States is withdrawing troops while trying to usher in peace talks between the Taliban and the Western-backed government in Kabul to end nearly 19 years of war.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he wasn’t aware of the attacks.

The Islamic State extremist group’s affiliate that operates in Afghanistan has interrupted national celebrations in the past with rocket fire.

Reports said the rockets were fired shortly after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani laid a wreath at the Minaret of Independence at the Defense Ministry to mark the end of Afghanistan’s 1919 War of Independence, also known as the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

Fought between Afghan and British-Indian forces, the conflict reestablished full Afghan independence after decades of British control over Afghan foreign policy.