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Afghan capital hit by rocket attack

  • Story Highlights
  • No sign that any site was targeted, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman says
  • One rocket reportedly hit within several hundred yards of the U.S. Embassy
  • Afghanistan is to hold presidential and provincial elections on August 20
By Ivan Watson
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A pre-dawn salvo of at least eight rockets slammed into the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday, Afghan officials said.

No one was injured by the attack, said Najib Nikzad, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry. It marked the first time in at least five years that so many rockets hit Kabul within a short time, he added.

"Obviously the target, the object was to disrupt the election process," Nikzad said, referring to the presidential and provincial elections on August 20.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Fleur Cowan says she heard one of the explosions at around 4 a.m.

One of the rockets reportedly struck within several hundred yards of the U.S. Embassy.

"We don't have any indication these rockets were targeting any particular site," Cowan said. "They seem to have hit different parts of the city."

Taliban insurgents have demanded Afghans boycott the vote. U.S., NATO and Afghan security forces have been fighting bloody battles against the insurgents, in the run up to the election.

At least nine NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan during the weekend, marking a bloody start to August after a record number of NATO troops were killed there in July.

And a bomb attack against police in Herat killed at least 12 people and wounded 20 on Monday morning, security officials said.

NATO's new secretary general, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Monday the alliance will stay in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes," calling success in Afghanistan NATO's top priority.

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