Rocket blast at US embassy in Afghanistan on anniversary of 9/11

US Flag, protests; US embassy in Afghanistan experiences explosion on anniversary of 9/11

A rocket exploded at the US embassy in Afghanistan just minutes into Wednesday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States.

A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul and sirens could be heard.

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

About an hour later the all-clear was given, with no injuries reported.

There was no immediate comment from Afghan officials or those with the Nato mission, which is also nearby.

It was the first major attack in the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly called off US-Taliban talks on the brink of an apparent deal to end America’s longest war.

Two Taliban car bombs shook Kabul last week, killing several civilians and two members of the Nato mission.

Mr Trump has cited the death of a US service member in one of those blasts as the reason why he now calls the US-Taliban talks “dead”.

The 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan’s capital and one on which attacks have occurred.

A US-led invasion of Afghanistan shortly after the 2001 attack toppled the Taliban, who had harboured Osama bin Laden, the al Qaida leader and attacks mastermind.

In the nearly 18 years of fighting since then, the number of US troops in Afghanistan soared to 100,000 and dropped dramatically after bin Laden was killed in neighbouring Pakistan in 2011.

Now about 14,000 US troops remain and Mr Trump has called it “ridiculous” that they are still in Afghanistan after so long and so many billions of dollars spent.

It is not clear whether the US-Taliban talks will resume.

Almost 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001, in the worst act of terrorism on American soil.

Today – 18 years later – they will be remembered at a commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.

As has happened in years past, the names of those killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard Flight 93 will be read during the ceremony.

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