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Afghan Capital Hit by Barrage of Rockets as Pompeo Meets Taliban Leaders in Qatar

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KABUL—A barrage of rockets struck central Kabul on Saturday morning, hours before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to meet Taliban and Afghan government negotiators in Qatar as the Trump administration seeks to speed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.

At least eight people were killed and more than 30 others wounded as the rockets slammed into residential neighborhoods and business districts, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. The ministry said at least 24 rockets were fired from two minivans north of the capital.

The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the attack. The insurgent group denied involvement.

“This heinous attack by the Taliban shows their weakness and defeat,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

Hours after the attack, Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan claimed to be behind it, according to a communiqué reported by the SITE Intel Group, a U.S.-based nongovernmental group that tracks terrorist activities online.

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