Rockets fired into Kabul as national assembly continues

Afghanistan prepares for U.S. exit
Afghanistan prepares for U.S. exit


    Afghanistan prepares for U.S. exit


Afghanistan prepares for U.S. exit 02:15

Story highlights

  • Two rockets are fired into Kabul on Thursday morning
  • One civilian is injured when the rockets land near a vegetable market
  • Karzai's national assembly, or loya jirga, is also taking place in Kabul
Two rockets were fired into the Afghan capital on Thursday as President Hamid Karzai met tribal elders to discuss the future of U.S. military presence in the nation, authorities said.
The rockets fired near the western part of Kabul landed near a market, injuring one civilian, the Kabul police chief said.
Karzai and tribal elders were participating in a national assembly, or loya jirga, in Kabul to address the long-term pact with the U.S. military and set limits on NATO troops in in the nation.
"America is powerful, has more money, but we are lions here. Lions have the habit of not liking strangers getting into their house," Karzai said Wednesday.
"We want our sovereignty from today. Our relations should be between two independent countries."
The speech appeared designed to boost his nationalist credentials with a domestic audience, and was also broadly critical of NATO, saying the intended departure of its troops in 2014 was "good for Afghans."
NATO plans to withdraw most combat troops by that date, but is negotiating what sort of long-term presence they might have here.
Karzai spelled out conditions for a long-term foreign military presence -- mostly formalizations of long-held Afghan complaints about the international presence here.
"I'd like to tell them they can't arrest any Afghan on our soil and they can't have prisons. We have a justice and security system and that is up to us," he said.
He said a deal that enabled U.S. forces to have bases in Afghanistan was beneficial, but added they would not be able to attack Afghanistan's neighbors from inside the country, conduct night raids, search houses or arrest Afghans.
He said night raids by foreign troops must stop, adding that NATO troops should not be allowed to search people's houses -- complaints that have already prompted NATO to adjust its operations and incorporate greater Afghan assistance.
The loya jirga is considered an important step toward any possible peace deal with elements of the insurgency.
Hundreds of community leaders have been invited from across the country, with the meeting a test of Karzai's potency as a cohesive leader.
The turnout Wednesday was considerable.
Troops, security officials, and police lined the roads outside the loya jirga tent, near the Intercontinental Hotel on the capital's outskirts.
The Taliban have long threatened to disrupt the event.
On Monday, security forces killed a suicide bomber near the meeting site. The attacker was wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase when he was stopped, said Gen. Ayoub Salangi, chief of Kabul police.
On Sunday, a Taliban-affiliated website published what it claimed was a leaked document containing confidential government security plans for the meeting.
The leaked security plans included a detailed satellite map of the area and purported details of the security arrangements, but the Interior Ministry immediately dismissed them as fake.