Rockets hit near diplomatic area, heavy clashes near mosque in Kabul

Taliban take nearly 200 bus passengers captive as group set to reject Kabul ceasefire

An Afghan army helicopter swooped in low over the street near the Eidgah mosque in a central district of the city and fired a rocket on a militant position, sending a plume of dust into the sky.

Smoke and dust (C) rise following an air strike from an Afghan military helicopter during ongoing clashes between Afghan security forces and militants near the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul on August 21, 2018.

Afghan officials on Tuesday said fighting broke out between security forces and armed groups in the city's old quarter, in which at least two people were wounded.

Police say the first rocket landed somewhere near the presidency, the second near a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation compound and the US Embassy in Kabul but no one was hurt.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke via video teleconference with the provincial governors, national defense and security officials, provincial council members, and members of the provincial high peace and Ulemas councils.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but it comes just two days after Ghani declared a ceasefire with the Taliban ahead of Eid celebrations.

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According to the police chief, the attackers first used the mortar against the presidential palace.

President Ghani instructed the national defense and security forces to continue to their operations against the Taliban until a positive response has not been received.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai confirmed that fighting was underway near the mosque, and said he could not confirm casualties yet.

Mr Ghani's call for an Eid ceasefire was rejected by Taliban militants.

The truce offer was welcomed by the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation after almost 17 years of war, but the Taliban have yet to respond.

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