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Controlled Explosions Heard In Kabul, Causing Alarm

KABUL (Reuters) -- A series of controlled military explosions spread alarm in the Afghan capital as President Hamid Karzai addressed parliament on January 20.

The blasts were heard in east Kabul, and a U.S. forces spokeswoman told Reuters there were two controlled explosions, carried out at an Afghan National Army training center.

The training facility is overseen by Combined Transition Security Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), a U.S. military unit that trains the Afghan Army.

"They did it in two explosions, rather than one large one, so not to cause too much alarm," the spokeswoman said.

The blasts happened shortly before and while President Karzai began a speech to open the fourth session of the Afghan parliament in Kabul, but the U.S. forces spokeswoman did not have more information about the timing of the explosions.

The Afghan Army is due to be expanded to 134,000 troops by 2012 and is expected to eventually take over Afghanistan security duties from NATO-led forces, which are battling a virulent Taliban insurgency in south and east Afghanistan.

On January 17, a suicide car bomb attack killed one U.S. soldier and four Afghans outside the German Embassy and close to the CSTC-A base on a busy road in the center of Kabul.