In but the latest sign that an attempted central government-sponsored ceasefire with the Taliban has failed, a massive missile attack which appears to have targeted the Afghan president and cabinet members occurred in the heart of Kabul's government and diplomatic district on Tuesday morning.
During an annual Eid speech to mark the Islamic holiday given by President Ashraf Ghani, a volley of 20 missiles was unleashed, which can be heard in the background during the televised address.
According to the account by Afghan national news agency Tolo, which first reported the assassination attempt:
Half way through his message, the thud of falling rockets could be heard in the background. Without flinching, Ghani interrupted his speech and said: “If they are thinking the rocket attack will keep Afghans down, they are wrong.”
Though no one at the presidential event was hurt or killed, the first missile reportedly landed near the presidential palace, while the second struck near a NATO compound and within the vicinity of the US Embassy in Kabul. Firefighters were reportedly on the scene battling sporadic fires that resulted in various missile impacts in the area.
No particular group immediately claimed responsibility; however ISIS and the Taliban have conducted dozens of recent terror attacks, with a noticable uptick in large-scale Taliban suicide bombings and kidnappings in recent days and weeks, including an incident wherein the Taliban seized a civilian bus traveling in northern Afghanistan early this week, and held 160 people hostage.
Upon Tuesday's attack security quickly sealed off the entire 'green zone' diplomatic area, and while government officials initially cited 12 rockets as being fired from a nearby Kabul district, some residents told reporters they counted as many as 22 launched.
By mid-morning smoke could be seen hovering over an impoverished are of Kabul and security forces descended on the house from which the rocket attack reportedly originated.
Afghan military and police forces raided the location using a helicopter as well as RPG's, reportedly killing some of the insurgents responsible, though it's as yet unclear the terrorists' affiliation.