IS attack on Afghan university leaves 22 dead

KABUL, Afghanistan — Islamic State militants in Afghanistan stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gunbattle and leaving at least 22 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.

Most of the casualties were students and there were fears the death toll could climb further with some of the wounded said to be in critical condition.

It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in as many weeks.

The Taliban promptly issued a statement denying they took part in the assault, which came as the insurgents continue peace talks with representatives of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government, with the aim to help the United States finally withdraw from Afghanistan. Later in the day, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

As the attack unfolded, students and teachers were seen fleeing the part of the campus where law and journalism schools are located, while hand grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire could be heard. Scores of Afghan special forces surrounded the campus, shepherding teachers and students to safety.

The chaos subsided as the sun set over the Afghan capital and the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, said all three attackers involved in the assault were killed.

The Islamic State group said it targeted newly graduated “judges and investigators belonging to the apostate Afghan government” gathered at the campus, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror online messaging.

The IS statement claimed only two of its fighters were involved, and posted their photographs, which conflicted with the Afghan authorities’ report of three attackers. The claim did not indicate the IS intended to target the Iranian envoy or the book fair.

Last week, IS also claimed a brutal assault on a tutoring center in the Afghan capital’s mostly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi that killed at least 24 students and wounded more than 100 others on Oct. 24.

The peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government, known as intra-Afghan talks, were part of a deal Washington signed with the insurgents in February. They are taking place in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, and are seen as Afghanistan’s best chance at peace – though daily bloodshed has continued.

Five hours into the fighting on Monday, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire still echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university’s fenced compound. Afghan troops stood guard.

Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists he saw militants armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school, the country’s oldest with some 17,000 students. He said the attack happened at the university’s eastern side, where its law and journalism faculty teach.

Afghan media reported that a book exhibition was being held at the university and attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting. None of the dignitaries were reported hurt.

While Afghan officials declined to discuss the bookfair, Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Sunday that Iranian Ambassador

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At least 22 dead, 22 wounded in ISIS attack on Afghan university

KABUL, Afghanistan — Islamic State militants in Afghanistan stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gunbattle and leaving at least 22 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.

Most of the casualties were students and there were fears the death toll could climb further with some of the wounded said to be in critical condition.

It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in as many weeks.

The Taliban promptly issued a statement denying they took part in the assault, which came as the insurgents continue peace talks with representatives of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government, with the aim to help the United States finally withdraw from Afghanistan. Later in the day, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Gen. Scott Miller, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the BBC that Afghan forces must be ready to defend their country. (Operation Resolute Support)

As the attack unfolded, students and teachers were seen fleeing the part of the campus where law and journalism schools are located, while hand grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire could be heard. Scores of Afghan special forces surrounded the campus, shepherding teachers and students to safety.

The chaos subsided as the sun set over the Afghan capital and the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, said all three attackers involved in the assault were killed.

The Islamic State group said it targeted newly graduated “judges and investigators belonging to the apostate Afghan government” gathered at the campus, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror online messaging.

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ISIS attack on Afghan university leaves 22 dead, 22 wounded

KABUL, Afghanistan — Islamic State militants in Afghanistan stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gunbattle and leaving at least 22 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.

Most of the casualties were students and there were fears the death toll could climb further with some of the wounded said to be in critical condition.

It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in as many weeks.

The Taliban promptly issued a statement denying it took part in the assault, which came as the insurgents continue peace talks with representatives of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government, with the aim to help the United States finally withdraw from Afghanistan. Later in the day, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

As the attack unfolded, students and teachers were seen fleeing the part of the campus where law and journalism schools are located, while hand grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire could be heard. Scores of Afghan special forces surrounded the campus, shepherding teachers and students to safety.

The chaos subsided as the sun set over the Afghan capital and the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, said all three attackers involved in the assault were killed.

The Islamic State group said it targeted newly graduated “judges and investigators belonging to the apostate Afghan government” gathered at the campus, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror online messaging.

The ISIS statement claimed only two of its fighters were involved, and posted their photographs, which conflicted with the Afghan authorities’ report of three attackers. The claim did not indicate the IS intended to target the Iranian envoy or the book fair.

Last week, ISIS also claimed a brutal assault on a tutoring center in the Afghan capital’s mostly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi that killed at least 24 students and wounded more than 100 others on Oct. 24.

Five hours into the fighting on Monday, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire still echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university’s fenced compound. Afghan troops stood guard.

Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists he saw militants armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school, the country’s oldest with some 17,000 students. He said the attack happened at the university’s eastern side, where its law and journalism faculty teach.

 

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IS attack on Afghan university leaves 22 dead, 22 wounded


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Islamic State militants in Afghanistan stormed the Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gun battle and leaving at least 22 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.

Most of the casualties were students and there were fears the death toll could climb further with some of the wounded said to be in critical condition.


It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in as many weeks.

The Taliban promptly issued a statement denying they took part in the assault, which came as the insurgents continue peace talks with representatives of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government, with the aim to help the United States finally withdraw from Afghanistan. Later in the day, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.



As the attack unfolded, students and teachers were seen fleeing the part of the campus where law and journalism schools are located, while hand grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire could be heard. Scores of Afghan special forces surrounded the campus, shepherding teachers and students to safety.


The chaos subsided as the sun set over the Afghan capital and the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, said all three attackers involved in the assault were killed.

The Islamic State group said it targeted newly graduated “judges and investigators belonging to the apostate Afghan government” gathered at the campus, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror online messaging.


The IS statement claimed only two of its fighters were involved, and posted their photographs, which conflicted with the Afghan authorities’ report of three attackers. The claim did not indicate the IS intended to target the Iranian envoy or the book fair.

Last week, IS also claimed a brutal assault on a tutoring center in the Afghan capital’s mostly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi that

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Students killed by gunmen at Afghan University [Video]

At least 19 students have been killed at Kabul University on Monday (November 2) as gunmen attacked the campus site, according to a senior government source.

Three attackers were shot dead by security forces.

Eye-witnesses added the attackers were targeting students and fired on them as they fled in the Afghan capital.

Fathullah Moradi is one of them.

“We saw them when they entered the university. They were shooting at every student they saw, and even they shot at the students who were running away. I and a number of my friends managed to leave the scene through the other gate of the university.”

The Taliban said their fighters were not involved in the assault.

No other group immediately claimed responsibility.

Witnesses also said the attack followed an explosion in the area.

Spokesman for the interior ministry Tariq Arian said several attackers had entered the campus and had been fighting with security forces.

At least 15 people were said to be injured, according to a police source.

This latest violence follows an attack late last month on an education center in Kabul which killed 24 people – and comes as the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal.

Video Transcript

At least 19 students have been killed at Kabul University on Monday as gunmen attacked the campus site, according to a senior government source. Three attackers were shot dead by security forces. Eye-witnesses added the attackers were targeting students and fired on them as they fled in the Afghan capital. Fathullah Moradi is one of them.

FATHULLAH MORADI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

INTERPRETER: We saw them when they entered the university. They were shooting at every student they saw, and they even shot at students who were running away. A number of my friends and I managed to leave the scene through the university’s other gate.

The Taliban said their fighters were not involved in the assault. No other group immediately claimed responsibility. Witnesses also said the attack followed an explosion in the area.

Spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Tariq Arian, said several attackers had entered the campus and have been fighting with security forces. At least 15 people were said to be injured, according to a police source. This latest violence follows an attack late last month on an education center in Kabul, which killed 24 people, and comes as the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try and broker a peace deal.

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Attack on Afghan university leaves 19 dead, 22 wounded

Gunmen stormed Kabul University in Afghanistan on Monday as the campus hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gun battle that left at least 19 people dead and 22 wounded. Most of the casualties were students.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack at Afghanistan’s largest school, but the Taliban issued a statement denying participation in the assault, which came as the insurgents continue peace talks with representatives of Kabul’s U.S.-backed government.

As the attack unfolded, students and teachers were seen fleeing the campus while hand grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire sounded. Scores of Afghan special forces surrounded the campus, shepherding teachers and students to safety.

Hours later, the chaos subsided as the sun set over the Afghan capital. The Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, said three attackers were involved in the assault, all of whom were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in two weeks. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a brutal assault on a tutoring center in the city’s mostly Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, which killed at least 24 students and wounded more than 100 others Oct. 24.

The peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government, known as intra-Afghan talks, were part of a deal Washington signed with the insurgents in February. The talks are taking place in Qatar and are seen as Afghanistan’s best chance at peace. But daily bloodshed has continued.

Five hours into the fighting Monday, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic-weapons fire still echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university’s fenced compound. Afghan troops stood guard.

Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists that he saw militants armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school, the country’s oldest, with some 17,000 students. He said the attack happened on the university’s eastern side, where its law and journalism faculty teach.

Afghan media reported that a book exhibition was being held at the university and attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting. None of the dignitaries was reported hurt.

While Afghan officials declined to discuss the book fair, Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Sunday that Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian and cultural attache Mojtaba Noroozi were to inaugurate the fair, which was hosting about 40 Iranian publishers.

Iranian diplomats have been targeted previously in Afghanistan, incidents that dangerously escalated tensions between the two countries. In 1998, Iran held the Taliban responsible for the deaths of nine Iranian diplomats working in its consulate in northern Afghanistan, and sent reinforcements to its 580-mile-long border with Afghanistan.

With no claim of responsibility for Monday’s attack, suspicion immediately fell on Islamic State, which has declared war on Afghanistan’s minority Shiites and staged dozens of attacks since emerging in the region in 2014. A horrific attack earlier this year on a Kabul maternity hospital — also in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood — was blamed on the group. In that

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Gunbattle strikes Afghan university amid Iran book fair

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, sparking an hourslong gunbattle at the war-torn country’s largest school that saw students flee for their lives.

As the sun slowly set over the Afghan capital, details remained few though the Taliban issued a statement denying it took part in the assault as it continues peace talks with the U.S.-backed government. Those negotiations aim to help the U.S. finally withdraw from America’s longest war, though daily bloodshed continues and an Islamic State affiliate launches its own attacks on Shiites in the country.

Five hours into the fighting, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university’s fenced compound. Afghan troops stood guard.

“Unfortunately, there are casualties,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said, without elaborating. At least six people had been wounded, Public Health Ministry spokesman Akmal Samsor said hours earlier.


Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists he saw militants armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school, the country’s oldest with some 17,000 students. He said the attack happened at the university’s eastern side where its law and journalism faculty teach.

Afghan media reported a book exhibition was being held at the university and attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting.

While Afghan officials declined to discuss the bookfair, Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Sunday that Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian and cultural attaché Mojtaba Noroozi were scheduled to inaugurate the fair, which would host some 40 Iranian publishers. Iranian state television reported the attack occurred, but did not offer information on its officials.

Iranian diplomats have been targeted previously by attacks in the country and nearly sparked a war between the two countries. In 1998, Iran held the Taliban responsible for the deaths of nine Iranian diplomats who were working in its consulate in northern Afghanistan and sent reinforcements to the 950-kilometer- (580-mile-) long border that Iran and Afghanistan share.

No group immediately took responsibility for the ongoing attack though the Taliban issued a statement saying they were not involved. However, suspicion immediately fell on the Islamic State group.

Last month, the Islamic State group sent a suicide bomber into an education center in the capital’s Shiite dominated neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, killing 24 students and injuring more than 100. The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan has declared war on Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslims and have staged dozens of attacks since emerging in 2014.

Schools have been targeted for attacks in the past as well. Last year, a bomb outside of the Kabul University campus’ gates killed eight people. In 2016, gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul, killing 13.

Violence has been relentless in Afghanistan even as the Taliban and a government-appointed negotiation team discuss a peace agreement to end more than four decades of war in the country. The talks in Qatar have been painfully slow and despite repeated demands

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Gunmen storm university, take students hostage in Afghan capital

image-from-ios.jpg
An image shared by the Kabul Police shows officers and medics helping victims of an attack on Kabul University, November 2, 2020.

Kabul Police handout


Gunmen stormed the sprawling campus of Kabul University in Afghanistan‘s capital on Monday morning, forcing thousands of students to flee in a panic. An unclear number of students were taken hostage by the assailants, but there was little information amid the chaos of the attack.

“Several terrorists and enemies of knowledge entered Kabul university,” confirmed Tariq Arain, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, adding that police had already “rescued many people.” Amid reports that at least 10 people were killed in the attack, Arain said he could not provide figures but he confirmed there were fatalities.

A student named Milad Kohistani posted a photo on Facebook showing his face bloodied and asking for prayers and help. “My classmates were killed and wounded in front of my eyes, and we have been taken hostage,” he wrote.

Masooma Jafari, spokeswoman for the Afghan public health ministry, said at least eight people were taken to a Kabul hospital with unspecified injuries. Casualty figures were expected to rise as a gun battle between the assailants and security forces was underway on the campus.

Afghanistan
Afghan police arrive at the site of an attack at Kabul University in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 2, 2020.

Rahmat Gul/AP


A military official confirmed that the NATO-led Resolute Support mission was providing support to Afghan security forces as they responded to the incident. U.S. forces were among those to respond.

Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who has been tasked by President Ashraf Ghani with security for the capital city, called the attack an “intelligence failure” and blamed it on the Taliban, accusing neighboring Pakistan of supporting the insurgents.

The militants “next door won’t be able to wash their conscience of this stinking and non-justifiable attack on Kabul university,” Saleh said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sent a WhatsApp message to journalists soon after news of the violence broke, however, insisting the group had no part in the attack. Both the Taliban and the Afghan branch of ISIS are active in Kabul and have carried out attacks on schools and universities before.

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the Afghan government’s High Council for National Reconciliation, which is overseeing ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, condemned the attack. “Targeting educational institutions is a heinous crime,” he said. “Students have the right to study in peace and security.”

The university was hosting a literary event, the “Afghanistan and Iran book exhibition,” at the time of the attack. A dozen high-ranking government officials, including ministers and the Iranian ambassador, were expected to attend.

According to its website, Kabul University is Afghanistan’s oldest public university, established in 1932. It has a student body of more than 17,000, but it was not clear how many students were on the campus, which is surrounded by a perimeter security wall, at the time of the attack.

Kabul’s universities have often been targeted in terror

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Gunmen battle Afghan security forces on Kabul University campus

Afghan policemen keep watch near the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

KABUL (Reuters) – Gunmen traded fire with Afghan security forces in Kabul University’s campus following a blast in the area, and at least six people were wounded, Afghan government officials said.

The Taliban denied their fighters were involved in the assault, and the identity of the attackers was unknown

“Gunshots still can be heard in the area but security forces have blocked it off,” Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian said. “We don’t know whether we are dealing with a coordinated attack or something else.” he said.

He later said that multiple attackers had entered the campus and were fighting with security forces.

At least six people were wounded, including a professor and a student, according to Akmal Samsor, the health ministry’s spokesman.

Witnesses said students had fled from the Kabul University campus.

“Almost all students have now left,” Nahid, a student who asked that only her first name be used for security reasons, told Reuters by telephone after fleeing from the university.

Violence has plagued Afghanistan while government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal that would allow the United States to bring home its troop and end its longest war.

Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Orooj Hakimi; writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Robert Birsel & Simon Cameron-Moore

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Afghan bombing: Kabul education centre attack kills at least 18

Image caption

The education centre attacked on Saturday usually hosts hundreds of students

At least 18 people have been killed and 57 wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside an education centre in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say.

The explosion at the private facility, which offers courses for students in higher education, occurred late in the afternoon, the interior ministry said.

The building in the predominantly Shia Muslim Dasht-e-Barchi area usually hosts hundreds of students.

Many have been taken to hospital. There are fears the death toll may rise.

The Islamic State group said it was behind the attack in messages posted on its social media channels, but did not provide any evidence.

Earlier, the Taliban denied involvement in the attack.

“A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre,” interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a statement, AFP news agency reports.

The spokesman added that the attacker was identified by security guards “after which he detonated his explosives in an alley”.

Image caption

A man who reportedly lost his brother in the attack (R) is comforted at a hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul

One local resident, Ali Reza, told AFP that those killed and injured were students waiting to enter the facility. “I was standing about 100m from the centre when a big blast knocked me down,” he said.

Afghanistan has seen a rise in violence in recent weeks – with most of the attacks carried out by the Taliban. The violence threatens to imperil peace talks between government forces and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha.

The Shia community in Afghanistan has previously been targeted by Sunni Muslim extremists such as the Islamic State group, which views the Shia practice of Islam as heretical.

Map

Saturday’s attack is not the first to target an education centre in the country.

Forty-eight people – many of them teenagers – were killed in August 2018 when
a suicide bomber walked into a tuition facility
and detonated a device while teaching was under way. The Islamic State group said it was behind that attack.

And in May,
24 women, children and babies were killed
when unidentified gunmen entered a maternity ward at a hospital in Kabul and opened fire.

Earlier this week, 11 children and their prayer leader died an air strike on a religious school in the northern Afghan province of Takhar, according to local officials. The Afghan government disputed the account, saying the strike had killed Taliban fighters.

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“The violence must come down” says US General Miller


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