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A large explosion shook an area of the Afghan capital late Wednesday night, with officials saying they believed a rocket hit near the U.S. Embassy compound.

No American personnel were hurt in the apparent attack, officials said, though one Afghan security contractor was injured.

Embassy officials said the rocket hit some 150 feet from the compound’s back gate, which is near the Kabul radio and television building.

The attack is the latest in a series of incidents in Afghanistan, where reputed Taliban members have promised an increase in violence over the coming months. Traditionally, fighting in Afghanistan picks up after the long winter months. Smuggling routes in the mountains thaw out, allowing fighters to slip into and out of hiding areas.

In Wednesday’s incident, a single rocket was believed to have been fired from approximately 10 miles outside the city.

“All embassy personnel are safe and accounted for,” embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. Staffers had been moved into a bunker on the compound shortly after the blast, which occurred around 11 p.m., he said.

Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a Pentagon spokesman, told the AP the rocket struck near, but outside, the compound grounds.

The headquarters base for the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force in Kabul also is in the area.

According to the Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan Web site, there are more than 21,000 coalition forces in the country, with the U.S. contributing some 18,000 of them. CFC-A is commanded by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry.


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