Conflicts & War

Afghanistan mourns victims as Kabul University siege death toll climbs to 22

Kabul, Nov 3 (efe-epa).- Afghanistan was on Tuesday observing a day of national mourning, a day after the deadly militant attack on Kabul University, in which the death toll has climbed to 22, while 27 people have been injured.

The five hour-siege had ended on Monday evening after all three assailants were gunned down.

“The number of injured persons, who have been evacuated to various hospitals from yesterday’s attack on Kabul university, has increased to 27, and the number of those martyred increased to 22,” public health ministry spokesperson Noorullah Tarakai told EFE.

He added that the wounded were out of danger and were being treated in hospitals.

Flags were lowered to half mast in Afghan public institutions to honor the victims of the attack, claimed by the Islamic State terror group, which targeted the premier institute of higher education in the country.

The attackers entered a building of the Law Faculty and opened fire against students, teachers and other employees, leaving a trail of bodies in the passages and classrooms, while some of the victims even tried to jump to safety from the windows.

Kabul’s municipal workers worked through the night to clear the debris, broken furniture and glass from the two-floor building where the main gunfight took place, apart from cleaning the blood and burned books, although the more serious damage could take days to clear.

Most of the victims of the attack were students, along with a few of the faculty and staff of the university, who were trapped inside the campus at a time when around 15,000 people were present in the premises.

Funerals were held in different parts of Kabul on Tuesday, after families received the victims’ bodies from authorities overnight.

Later, hundreds of Kabul residents gathered for a protest at the campus condemning the “terrorist attack” on one of the major symbols of progress in Afghanistan and demand better security.

The demonstrators raised slogans such as “Death to terrorists and extremism,” “Give us an answer! Why we are being killed,” while also carrying banners that urged the government to boycott the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha with the Taliban, which kicked off in September.

“If the Taliban don’t accept the ceasefire and are not ready to make peace, then no need to continue talks with them, government should stop the negotiations and instead must focus on strengthening the security measures in cities,” Hazratullah, one of the protesters, told EFE.

The Afghan government also lashed out against the Taliban after the incident, even though it was claimed by the IS and Taliban had immediately distanced themselves.

“Whether the Taliban accept or not, they are responsible for the killings and civilian casualties, and the security forces will give a strong response to the enemies of Afghanistan,” National Security Advisor Hamdullah Muhib said in a statement after visiting the attack site.

According to a report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan last week, at least 2,117 civilians have been killed and 3,822 injured in the armed conflict in the country during the first nine months of 2020. EFE-EPA


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