Rockets strike Kabul neighborhood, 3 wounded

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KABUL (AP) — Three rockets were fired into a residential area of Kabul on Thursday, wounding three civilians, the government said.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that two of the rockets hit a house and the third landed in a garden. Local police said the attack was in the Qalafa neighborhood, about three miles (five kilometers) southeast of central Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Also Thursday, two U.S. senators visiting Afghanistan said American drone strikes just over the border in Pakistan are critical in defeating terrorists in the region.

Attacks by the unmanned aircraft are a controversial element of U.S. strategy. Pakistan has publicly condemned them as a violation of its sovereignty and civilian deaths in the strikes stoke anger against the U.S.

But senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman told journalists in Kabul that they support the strategy.

McCain said the strikes “have knocked al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist organizations off-balance” and that the U.S. is working with Afghanistan and Pakistan to reduce civilian suffering caused by them.

“This is a war and it is a war in which the enemy is being brutal and the only way to stop them is with force,” Lieberman said. “And in the particular case of the drones they are a critical element of our effort, our campaign, our strategy to deny the terrorists who are terrorizing the people Afghanistan and of Pakistan a safe haven from which to strike.”

Since a Dec. 30 suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees at a base in eastern Afghanistan, suspected U.S. drones have carried out five strikes in Pakistan’s neighboring North Waziristan region. The area is believed to be a hide-out for militants involved in the CIA attack.

The latest strikes, on Wednesday, killed 13 people.