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Rocket Attacks Rattle Afghan Capital, But Cause No Injuries

8 October 2004 -- A rocket attack targeted central Kabul this morning, one day before national voting to choose the first directly elected president in the country's history, but international media reported that the resulting explosion caused no casualties.

The rocket detonated in midair and then hit a few hundred meters from the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions, AFP and AP reported. The headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is also in the area.

Hours earlier, two rockets were fired at another base used by an 850-strong Italian contingent of the NATO-led force on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, agencies reported. The rockets missed the Italian base at Camp Activia, and there were no reported casualties.

Afghan and international security forces have been on high alert in an effort to safeguard polling in the country's first-ever presidential election, with the first of a possible two rounds of presidential balloting to take place tomorrow.

Sixteen candidates remain in the race, including Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai, former Interior and then Defense Minister Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, and the lone female presidential hopeful, Mas'uda Jalal.


[Get RFE/RL news, analysis, and background on the Afghan elections at "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05."]