Five rockets hit Afghan capital, 1 near US Embassy

Kabul: At least five rockets slammed into Kabul at daybreak on Tuesday, one of them falling near the US Embassy in a rare attack on the Afghan capital fewer than three weeks before presidential elections, police and residents said.

The explosions, heard by reporters, occurred to the east of the city, toward the international airport and near several residential areas.

The impact of one of the rockets could be seen about 200 metres from the US Embassy on a main road in central Kabul. It hit the house of a senior Interior Ministry official but caused no casualties, security officers said.

At the scene, Maj Ghulam Rasul of the Afghan national Army said that he believed the rockets were of the long-range BM1 type, which can be fired from portable rocket launchers positioned on the ground several miles from their target. "The capital is closely guarded. They had to fire from far away," Rasul said.

Col Fatih Uddin, the security chief at the damaged Interior Ministry house, estimated the building probably wasn't the main target of the attack. "Of course, it seems that the target was more the American Embassy," Uddin said.

The US Embassy strongly questioned whether this was the case.

"There's no indication these rockets were targeting any particular site in Kabul," embassy spokeswoman Fleur Cowan said. She said the embassy had not implemented any special security measures today beyond its usual response in cases of indirect fire.

Bureau Report