KABUL (Dispatches) – Afghanistan’s Kabul airport has been fitted with an air defense system to counter incoming rockets, officials said Sunday, as the Taliban pressed on with a blistering offensive across the country.
The Taliban say they now control 85 percent of the country -- a claim impossible to independently verify and disputed by the government.
The militants’ rapid gains in recent weeks have raised fears about the security of the capital and its airport.
“The newly installed air defense system has been operational in Kabul since 2:00 am Sunday,” the interior ministry said in a statement. “The system has proven useful in the world in repelling rocket and missile attacks.”
Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP it had been installed at the airport, though officials did not offer details about the type of system or who had installed it.
The Taliban have regularly launched rockets and mortars at government forces across the countryside, with the Daesh terrorists carrying out similar strikes on the capital in 2020.
Negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group held a series of talks in the Qatari capital of Doha to discuss the stalled ‘peace process’ as fighting escalates between the two sides.
Najia Anwari, a spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Ministry for Peace Affairs, said on Saturday that “serious discussions are taking place between the Afghan Republic and the Taliban negotiators” in Doha.
“These meetings are held every single night between the two sides and the discussions are focused on a number of important issues,” Anwari added.
The spokesman underlined that the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have over the past few days exchanged views on at least five key issues, including a future constitution, ceasefire, political roadmap and political participation in the transition period.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s office in Qatar, also confirmed in a statement that the heads of both teams, along with some of their negotiators, had met in Doha.
Meanwhile, India evacuated around 50 of its diplomats from Afghanistan’s second-largest city Kandahar in the wake of violent clashes between the Taliban and the Afghani security forces, Hindustan Times reported on Sunday, citing sources.