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Rocket hits Indian envoy's house as Afghan president fires warning to Taliban

Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra (in photo) confirmed that a rocket hit his house in the morning. Photograph: (ANI)

AFP Kabul, Afghanistan Jun 06, 2017, 09.31 AM (IST)

Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra on Tuesday confirmed that a rocket had hit his house in Kabul this morning, adding that there were no casualties in the incident and an investigation is underway.

"A rocket landed in the India House compound at 10.25 am this morning. There were no casualties. Investigations are ongoing," Vohra told ANI.

Earlier, reports emerged saying that a rocket had landed on the tennis court of the Indian Ambassador's house in Kabul after it was fired off in the city.

The incident has occurred in the heavily fortified diplomatic quarter in Kabul which houses a number of embassies, guesthouses and Resolute Support headquarters, Tolo News reported.

The incident came at the time when Afghanistan is hosting Kabul Process summit amid extremely tight security days after the capital city was hit by terror attacks that wrecked the political stability in the country.

Representatives from at least 23 countries are participating in the summit aimed at establishing peace in the country.

Ghani gives ultimatum to Taliban

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued an ultimatum to the Taliban Tuesday, warning them to embrace peace or "face consequences" after announcing that the death toll from last week's truck bombing had passed 150.

Ghani has come under mounting public criticism for spiralling insecurity, with a wave of protests and deadly street clashes roiling the Afghan capital as people incensed by the violence call for his government's resignation.

The president made a strong plea for security at an international peace conference on Afghanistan attended by around two dozen countries.

Armoured vehicles patrolled the streets as part of tight security and fighter jets roared over the capital.

"We are offering a chance for peace but this is not an open-ended offer," Ghani said.

"Time is running out... this is the last chance: take it or face consequences."

The conference, labelled the "Kabul Process", aims to build international support for peace. There was no immediate reaction from the Taliban to Ghani's comments.

Kabul has been on edge since the massive truck bomb last Wednesday ripped through the city's highly fortified diplomatic quarter, home to the presidential palace and a host of foreign embassies.

The death toll from the devastating attack has jumped to more than 150 people, while over 300 wounded were brought to hospitals, many with burns and amputations, Ghani told the conference. 

Previously officials had put the number of dead at 90. Ghani did not immediately explain the much higher figure.

Four more people were killed Friday when hundreds of protesters incensed by the bombing clashed with police, prompting officials to force them back with live rounds fired in the air, tear gas and water cannon.

The protesters, holding a sit-in for a fifth day Tuesday near the bombing site, have demanded the resignation of Afghanistan's security chiefs, including national security adviser Hanif Atmar.

The attacks have worsened tensions between rival ethnic groups and raised the prospect of a political crisis.

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, who heads the mainly Tajik Jamiat political group, also called for Atmar's dismissal on Monday. But Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, firmly rejected the demand.

Rabbani survived an attack at the funeral of one of the protesters on Saturday where suicide bombers tore through a row of mourners and killed seven more people. 

He blamed "terrorists within the system" for the funeral blasts, suggesting they were an inside job.

The government has accused the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network of carrying out Wednesday's attack, and said the funeral was targeted by bombers trained at a religious seminary in Pakistan.

Previous international efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table have failed, but diplomats in Kabul hailed Tuesday's conference as a stepping stone to peace.


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