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Rocket attack on US embassy in Afghanistan's capital

Two rockets have landed in the grounds of the US embassy in Kabul as foreigners celebrated Christmas Day. Taliban militants are believed to have carried out the attack, which highlights ongoing security concerns.

The two rockets landed in the embassy compound early on Wednesday, raising concerns about the extent to which security can be maintained in Afghanistan's capital. No injuries to staff were reported.

"At approximately 06:40 local time in Kabul (0210 UTC), approximately two rounds of indirect fire impacted the US Embassy compound," a statement from the embassy said. "All Americans are accounted for and no injuries were sustained. The Embassy continues to investigate the attack."

A further rocket landed near Maranjan Hill where members of the old Afghan royal family are buried in a large mausoleum, the National Directorate for Security told the AFP news agency. The rocket landed about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the presidential palace.

The Taliban claimed that it had fired four rockets at the embassy and inflicted heavy casualties. However, the insurgents' claims are often exaggerated following attacks.

The mortar rockets sent US diplomats rushing for shelter as the heavily-fortified embassy in the city centre sounded its emergency sirens and loudspeakers broadcast a "duck and cover" alarm warning.

On the same day, in the east of the city, a roadside bombing wounded three Afghan policemen. Kabul police chief, Mohammad Zahir, said one suspect had been arrested over that attack. An unexploded bomb in the same area was also located and successfully neutralized.

The attack comes days after NATO and Afghan officials began

talks about the future

role of foreign troops after the planned pullout from the country and end of combat missions at the end of 2014.

rc / se (AP, AFP, dpa)

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