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Attacks reported on Afghan parliament, no casualties

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This January 2, 2016 file photo shows Afghan residents gathering in front of a damaged car near the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul. (AFP photo)

The Taliban militants have staged an attack on the compound of the Afghan parliament in the capital, Kabul, with officials saying the assault did not cause any major damage or casualties.

Safiullah Muslim, a lawmaker from Badakhshan Province, said three rockets were fired at the parliament as a top intelligence official and caretaker minister of interior were due to speak in the chamber on Monday.

“It happened when the session was ongoing,” said the lawmaker, adding that the rockets did not hit the main building. Other lawmakers said no one was wounded in the incident.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the attack, saying, however, that it had caused heavy casualties. The militant group, which has increased its attacks on security personnel and civilians over the past months, is known for exaggerating fatality figures.

It was not clear whether the explosions were caused by long-range rocket artillery or shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades.

Diplomatic missions and government offices in Kabul have been the target of occasional rocket attacks.

8 Afghan policemen killed in Helmand

In a separate development, Afghan officials on Monday accused the Taliban of staging major attacks on two police checkpoints in the volatile south a day earlier, which killed at least eight policemen.

Local police officials in Helmand Province said the attack happened in the Gereshk district around midnight on Sunday. Taliban did not claim immediate responsibility for the attacks.

Also on Monday, Afghan officials said an American soldier shot and killed an Afghan boy near the Bagram Airfield, 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kabul in neighboring Parwan Province. Police said the US soldier targeted the boy as he was believed to be carrying what looked like an automatic rifle.

A demonstration was followed with locals gathering near the base to protest the killing of the boy, but the crowd dispersed after police intervened.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity more than 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Although the 2001 attack overthrew the Taliban, many areas across Afghanistan still face violence and insecurity.

The militant group recently refused to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government until its preconditions are fulfilled.

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