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Sunday, 7 April, 2002, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Rocket fired at Kabul peacekeepers
ISAF peacekeeper
Peacekeepers are in Kabul to maintain security
Foreign peacekeepers have come under rocket attack overnight, with one rocket exploding near the troops' headquarters in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

No damage was caused. Troops are heading out to an area south west of the city, where the rocket is thought to have been fired from and are checking for evidence of other rockets having been fired.

Our initial assessment is that rather than a group wishing to target ISAF in its own right, that perhaps this is in some way linked to the current situation in Kabul

Flight Lt Tony Marshall
A spokesman for the peacekeeping force told Associated Press news agency the attack was likely to be linked to efforts to destabilise the interim Afghan administration ahead of the loya jirga, a national grand council which meets in June to select a new government.

Afghan authorities last week arrested at least 160 people allegedly involved in a plot to topple the government.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has since played down suggestions of a coup plot, but investigations were continuing into possible sabotage and terrorist operations.

ISAF, the 18-nation, 4,500-member force, was established by the United Nations Security Council in December to help maintain security in Kabul during the transition to a more stable government in Afghanistan.

There have been several shooting incidents directed at peacekeepers in recent weeks, but no injuries.

Security review

ISAF spokesman Lt Col Neil Peckham said the force was taking Sunday's incident extremely seriously and was reviewing its security measures.

British troops heard the rocket overhead in the early hours of the morning.

It exploded 200 metres from the brigade support group's headquarters, leaving a crater in the ground.

Peacekeepers are searching the area to see if any other rockets were fired in the attack.

The rocket, which is said to be of a type mujahideen fighters fired into Kabul in the 1980s during their battle against the Soviet army and the communist government it backed, has a range of eight to 10 kilometres (five to six miles).

It was the second incident at the compound, located outside central Kabul along the main road leading from the capital to the eastern city of Jalalabad, in just over a week.

On 28 March, the compound was partially evacuated after a suspicious package was found outside one of the gates and later blown up but found to contain only bricks.

See also:

05 Apr 02 | South Asia
Peacekeepers kept in dark on Kabul plot
29 Mar 02 | UK
Bomb alert at Afghan base
06 Mar 02 | Europe
Peacekeepers die in Kabul blast
19 Feb 02 | South Asia
Shooting threatens Kabul stability
02 Feb 02 | South Asia
Peacekeepers key to Afghan future
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