PICS: Attack on American University in Afghanistan leaves 12 dead
25 August 2016, 18:23
Kabul — A brazen, hours-long militant attack on the American
University of Afghanistan ended early on Thursday after at least 12 people were
killed and dozens were wounded in the assault on the sprawling campus on
Kabul's outskirts, a government spokesperson said.
attack underscored how despite efforts by the Afghan authorities to improve
security, militants in this country are still able to stage large-scale
attacks, including in the country's capital, Kabul.
dead included seven students, according to Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq
Sediqqi. Three police officers and two security guards were also killed, the
group has yet claimed responsibility for the assault but suspicion is likely to
fall on the Taliban. The group's spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, would only
tell the media that the Taliban are "investigating."
of the dead were killed by gunshots near the windows of their classrooms,"
Sediqqi said. The ministry statement said that 36 people were wounded,
including nine police officers.
assault began just before 19:00 on Wednesday — a time when hundreds of students
typically attend evening classes at the prestigious university — with a suicide
car bombing at the university's entrance.
blast breached the security walls and allowed two other "terrorists,"
beside the driver of the vehicle, to enter the campus, Sediqqi said.
were armed with grenades and automatic weapons. The siege of the university
lasted almost nine hours, before police killed the two assailants around 03:30,
"Eliminate the roots of
More than 200 people, mostly students who had been trapped in
university buildings were rescued by special police units. Earlier, Kabul
police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said one foreign teacher was among the
Ashraf Ghani's office said he had visited some of the wounded in hospital on
Thursday morning and had also extended condolences to the victims' families.
condemned the assault as an "attack on education institutions and public
places" and said it would "strength our goal to eliminate the roots
university, located on the western edge of Kabul, was established in 2006 to
offer liberal arts courses modelled on the US system, and has more than 1 000
students currently enrolled.
not immediately clear what plans the university has for enhanced security or
when it would reopen, as faculty leaders could not immediately be reached for
Panic, the program director at Kabul's Emergency Hospital, said 18 people
wounded in the attack, including five women, had been admitted to the hospital.
He said three were "seriously" wounded, probably from automatic
“He shot at me”
photographer Massoud Hossaini was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard
an explosion on the southern flank of the campus.
went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal
clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass," Hossaini said,
adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.
students then barricaded themselves inside the classroom, pushing chairs and
desks against the door, and staying on the floor. Hossaini said at least two
grenades were thrown into the classroom, wounding several of his classmates.
and about nine students later managed to escape from the campus through an
we were running, I saw someone lying on the ground face down, they looked like
they had been shot in the back," he said.
and the other students took refuge in a residential house near the campus, and
were later safely evacuated by Afghan security forces.
“An attack on the future of
said US military advisers were on the ground with Afghan security forces at the
university. Spokesperson Adam Stump said the forces had been embedded with the
attack came two weeks after two university staffers, an American and an Australian,
were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen driving home from the campus
after evening classes on a Sunday night. Their abductors were men dressed in
Afghan military uniforms, officials had said.
whereabouts of the American and the Australian, whose names have not been
released, remain unknown.
State Department condemned what it called "an attack on the future of
Taliban have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years, and
regard foreign civilians as legitimate targets.
month, Kabul was shaken by a massive suicide bombing that struck a peaceful
rally by Afghanistan's minority ethnic Hazara community, killing more than 80
people and wounding hundreds.
attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which emerged last year in
Afghanistan as an affiliate of the militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria.
It was the ISIS Afghan branch's first assault in Kabul and the deadliest attack
in the Afghan capital since the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban regime in