It was early morning in Kabul and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, senior leaders and officials were at the Presidential palace to offer the prayers on the significant Eid el-Adha festival. During the prayers, rockets were fired allegedly by the Taliban, which landed near the palace. Afghan news channel Tolo news shared the live feed.
Video by national TV shows the moment rockets landed near the Presidential Palace during Eid prayers this morning. pic.twitter.com/WmEniyfLfM
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) July 20, 2021
The first vice president Amrullah Saleh who was also present during the prayer, posted on social media. “Eid Mubarak to all. The Eid prayer was led by an ANDSF soldier symbolizing the unity of the nation in support of our forces in their sacred mission against terrorist Talibs. Talibs have no intention to pursue a peaceful solution. They use Doha just 4 image building & false messaging”.
President Ghani and his colleagues continued with the prayers. According to the channel. three rockets landed in areas near the Presidential Palace during Eid prayers.
Eid Mubarak to all. The Eid prayer was led by an ANDSF soldier symbolizing the unity of the nation in support of our forces in their sacred mission against terrorist Talibs. Talibs have no intention to pursue peaceful solution. They use Doha just 4 image building & false mesaging
— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) July 20, 2021
The rockets were fired from the Parwan-e-Se area and landed in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan and Chaman-e-Hozori areas in Kabul's District 1 and Manabe Bashari area in Kabul's District 2 near the official residence of Ghani. According to the Afghan Interior Ministry, “today, the enemies of Afghanistan launched rocket attacks in different parts of Kabul city”.
After the prayer, President Ghani opened jacket to show that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest and announced that he would sacrifice himself for his country and its people.
While delivering speech at his inauguration event, two explosions disrupted the ceremony temporarily. President Ghani to crowds: “This isn’t a bulletproof cloth. It’s an ordinary one. This chest is ready to be sacrificed for Afghan people.” @euamiri pic.twitter.com/1F7btS6fzV
— Abdulhaq Omeri (@AbdulhaqOmeri) March 9, 2020
He said that recent deeds by the Taliban showed the group has “no will” for peace and going forward, decisions by the government will be made based on that.
“Although everyone is aware of the danger, I also see an opportunity for my country in this dusty environment, which means that the future of Afghanistan is in the hands of the Afghans”, an unfazed Ghani said.
Talking about the “failed” Doha intra-Afghan talks, Ghani blamed the Taliban, pointing out that the insurgent group is never serious about the peace in the country.
“Mr. Abdullah told me some minutes ago that there is no will for peace in Taliban. We sent the delegation to do the ultimatum and to show that we have the will for peace and we are ready for sacrifice for it, but they (Taliban) have no will for peace and we should make decisions based on this.” Ghani added that this Eid has been named after Afghan forces to honour their sacrifices and courage, especially in the last three months.
Several times in the past, the Taliban has announced brief ceasefires during Islamic holidays, raising hopes they could be extended into longer-term cease-fires, but not this time. According to the sources, the Taliban was hoping for the release of about 7000 prisoners and then announce the ceasefire but the Afghan government did not oblige this time. Ghani said that the government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners last year but the group so far has not been ready for meaningful talks.
President Ghani said that he has prepared an “urgent and practical plan” and the first part of the plan is setting priorities for security and defence forces.
“Happy Eid to them and their families and thank all the families who have sent their children to join the security and defence forces to defend the soil and the people,” Ghani made it clear that there is a need for national support and national defence and said the future of Afghanistan will be made in Afghanistan and by Afghans.