September 10, 2019 A rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan just minutes into Wednesday, the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on American soil. U.S. officials at the compound have since declared an all–clear and no injuries have been reported.
The Associated Press reports that a plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: “An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound.”
The attack is the first in the Afghan capital since U. S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off U.S.–Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end war in Afghanistan—the longest war.
Military.com notes the 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan’s capital and one on which attacks have occurred.
The U. S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan issued a security alert on Monday for Massoud Day and the Ashura religious holiday from September 9, 2019 – September 10, 2019. The security alert stated that an increase in Afghan Security Forces in Kabul and other major cities is expected in anticipation of large celebratory crowds gathering at Massoud Circle, adjacent to the U.S. Embassy, on Massoud Day.
U.S. — Taliban Peace Talks Unravel
The Taliban warned on Monday that more Americans will die after U.S. President Donald Trump canceled a secret meeting with leaders of the insurgent group and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David over the weekend.
President Trump called off the meeting scheduled to take place at Camp David over the weekend with Taliban members, citing two attacks carried out by the insurgent group in Kabul last week that killed a U.S. service member.
“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position,?” Trump asked.
Trump faced backlash from leaders on both sides of the aisle after announcing the plan to meet with Taliban members at Camp David —just days before the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil. Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton was reportedly livid about the meeting. President Trump announced on Tuesday that Bolton’s services were no longer needed.
A Taliban spokesperson said Trump’s dramatic cancellation was a surprise to the group, suggesting his erratic diplomacy is damaging his credibility.
After 9/11, the American-led invasion forced the Taliban regime out of power. Since 2001, the militant group has actively fought to push U.S. and NATO military forces out of Afghanistan and delegitimize the current government of Afghanistan.