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Blast at US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

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Kabul: A huge rocket blast was reported near the US embassy in Afghanistan early Wednesday local time just minutes into the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, officials said.

The incident happened just after midnight, and forced employees to take cover inside.

“An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound,” a message said over the embassy loudspeakers.

Officials told the Press that no one was hurt and military personnel eventually gave the all-clear.

The late-night attack came just minutes into the 18th anniversary of 9/11 and days after President Trump decided to call off a secret meeting he had scheduled with leaders of the Taliban.

The terror group vowed Sunday to continue killing US service members — saying the failed talks would “lead to more losses to the US.” They did not immediately claim responsibility for Tuesday’s explosion.

Taliban car bombings led to the deaths of several civilians and two members of NATO last week. A US service member was also killed. Trump has cited his death as the main reason why the US-Taliban talks were called off.

There are currently about 14,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Trump has called their continued presence there “ridiculous.”

“We’ve been a peacekeeper there, in a way, for 19 years,” the president told reporters last month. “At a certain point you have to say that’s long enough.”

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Trump knew exactly what was going on: Giuliani aide

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Washington: An aide to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said that the US President “knew exactly what was going on” regarding efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, it was reported on Thursday.

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnass, who is facing separate criminal charges, made the comments in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday after letters, phone records, notes and flash drives were obtained from him earlier this week, the BBC said in a report.

Documents show that the Ukraine-born Parnas was in regular contact with Giuliani as well as Ukrainian officials, and suggests that the businessman was directly involved in trying to have Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky look into the Bidens.

In the interview, Parnas said Trump was “aware of all my movements”.

“I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President. Why would President Zelensky’s inner circle or (Interior) Minister (Arsen) Avakov or all these people or (former) President (Petro) Poroshenko meet with me?

“Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” he added.

Parnas further said that the President was lying and knew that unless there was an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a director of a Ukrainian gas company, military aid to Kiev would be withheld.

He also claimed that the investigation was about digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, some of the materials obtained show Parnas and Giuliani discussing the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the then US ambassador to Ukraine, said the BBC report.

In Wednesday’s interview, Parnas claimed the only motivation to get Yovanovitch removed from her post was because she was in the way of the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on December 18, 2019 and is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The two articles of impeachment were sent to the Republican-majority Senate on Wednesday night, paving the way for the starting of a trial against the President.

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