Conflicts & War

IS claims responsibility for Kabul University attack

Cairo/Kabul, Nov 2 (efe-epa).- The Islamic State terror organization on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack on the Kabul University that left 80 dead and injured, including the two perpetrators, according to the extremists.

“Two Islamic State fighters managed to storm a meeting organized by the Afghan government at Kabul University to graduate judges and researchers after completing a course at the university,” security sources told Amaq news agency, affiliated with the extremists.

The attack left “nearly 80 dead and injured” including judges, investigators and Afghan security personnel, the sources added.

“The two attackers died during their confrontation with security personnel,” Amaq said.

“Security personnel were protecting the meeting and others arrived at the scene after the clashes.”

Afghan authorities reported that 19 people were killed and 22 injured as gunmen laid siege to the Kabul University for five hours, with the attack eventually ending with the death of all three attackers.

Arian later told EFE that the deceased include 10 women, although he highlighted that hundreds of students and staff of the university were rescued in an hours-long operation in the Afghan capital.

The wounded include students, teachers, administrative employees of the university and a taxi driver, public health ministry spokesperson Akmal Samsour told EFE, adding that all of them were stable despite the majority suffering bullet injuries.

The assailants targeted the campus early in the morning when classes have the highest attendance, said higher education ministry spokesperson Hanif Farzan, explaining that around 15,000 people were present inside the premises at the time of the attack.

Social media was soon abuzz with videos taken by students with their mobile phones, showing young men and women jumping walls and fleeing the campus as gunfire is heard in the background.

Local media outlets have published images of bodies strewn around the classrooms and corridors of the university.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the group had nothing to do with the siege of the university.

President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi has condemned the attack.

“We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on Kabul University. (…) After the terrorists’ shameful defeat in Helmand, now these terrorist groups are in panic and targeting academic institutions,” he tweeted, referring to the Taliban’s siege of the capital in October.

“Targeting educational institutions is a heinous crime. Students have the right to study in peace and security. I offer my sincere condolences to victims and their families. We will prevail over the forces of darkness,” tweeted Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO representative to Afghanistan, also condemned the attack and highlighted that it was the second strike on an educational institution in Kabul in 10 days.

It came after 24 people – mostly students – were killed and 57 injured in a deadly attack last week on an educational center of the Shia minority.

This was the first such attack on Kabul University, which does not have strong security arrangements, as usually only a few guards man the three main gates of the campus to carry out security checks on students.

Afghanistan has witnessed major insurgent attacks on other universities in the past, such as the bombing of a classroom in the southern Ghazni province last year, which killed 23 students, most of them women.

In August 2016, 17 people were killed and 45 injured in a 10-hour siege of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

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