US Condemns Kabul Rocket Attack, Calls for Accelerated Path to Political Settlement


The United States has condemned the firing of rockets near the presidential palace in Kabul and called for an accelerated path to a political settlement in Afghanistan to pave the way for the lasting peace that its people desire. Addressing reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Afghans have been suffering from “senseless violence” for far too long.

According to reports, at least three rockets landed near the presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday while President Ashraf Ghani and others were offering Eid al-Adha prayers. However, no one was injured. Video clips online showed Ghani and others part of the gathering barely flinching and continuing their prayers as the rockets hit. Later, Ghani proceeded to address the gathering.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, reports said. “We condemn the rocket attacks on Kabul that occurred today. We continue to call for an accelerated path to a political settlement and an end to the violence,” Price said.

“What we have been consistent in saying is the people of Afghanistan are united in their desire for a just and for a lasting peace, and that is what the diplomacy we are supporting and much of the international community is supporting is geared to effect,” he said. The attack came when Taliban militants have seized dozens of districts in recent weeks and are now thought to control about a third of Afghanistan, ahead of the withdrawal of US and Western troops from the country by September 11.

Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control. Price said Afghans are suffering terribly from this violence.

“As Afghans come together to celebrate Eid, we urge the negotiating parties to consider all that unites them. And that is everything from their shared history and traditions to the desire for a unified and independent Afghanistan, as well as productive relations with neighbours and the international community,” he said. It has been 40 years that the Afghan people have been largely deprived of the safety and security that they deserve, he added.

Price said, “On the violence, more broadly, the senior leader talks that took place in Doha just a few days ago, July 17th and 18th, were a positive step. As we have said, there was a joint declaration that emanated from that. The sides committed to accelerating their diplomacy. That, indeed, was positive. But we know that more must be done and more must be done urgently,” he said. “Credible reports of atrocities are emerging. The parties’ commitment to preventing civilian casualty is something that we heard in the most recent round of diplomacy as a start. But again, only a negotiated political settlement can end this senseless violence and it is sort of durable and sustainable way,” he said.

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