News Wrap: ISIS attackers kill at least 22 at Kabul University

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The ambassador to Afghanistan from Iran was supposed to be at the book fair. It is unclear if the attackers knew that.

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Gunmen attack Kabul University

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Gunmen stormed Kabul University in Afghanistan on Monday, leaving at least 19 dead and dozens wounded. The attack lasted hours across the campus with Afghan forces and US troops battling the gunmen, who detonated explosives and fired their weapons.

The devastating onslaught was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in just over a week. It took place as the university held a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who are in peace-talk negotiations with the US-backed Afghan government, said their fighters were not involved in the assault. No other group immediately claimed responsibility. In photos and video posted to social media, students are shown fleeing and scrambling over the campus walls trying to escape.

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Gunmen storm Kabul University, killing 22, in second deadly attack on students in just over a week

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Orooj Hakimi and Hamid Shalizi

KABUL (Reuters) – Gunmen stormed Kabul University, killing at least 22 people including students in their classrooms, on Monday and Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for what President Ashraf Ghani called a “despicable act of terror”.

In a video message, Ghani, who once lectured at the university, announced a national day of mourning to honour the victims and offered his “condolences and profound sympathies to the nation” and the families of the victims.

“My heart is still beating for this academic institution,” he said. “Today’s attack has left us grief-stricken.”

Gunmen barged into Kabul University in the morning, killing students in their classrooms and firing on others as they fled, officials and witnesses said, in what was the second attack on an educational institution in the capital in just over a week.

The three attackers killed at least 22 people, including students, and wounded 22 others before Afghan security forces shot the gunmen dead, the health ministry said.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State, the jihadist group’s Amaq News Agency said. Amaq said the gunmen targeted a gathering being held to mark the completion of a training course at the university.

Photos shared by a senior government official showed students lying dead in classrooms, some next to their books. One student appeared to have been shot as he was climbing out of a window.

“They were shooting at every student they saw…They even shot at the students who were running away,” witness Fathullah Moradi told Reuters.

“This is the second attack on educational institutions in Kabul … Afghan children & youth need to feel safe going to school,” NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Stefano Pontecorvo said in a statement.

A suicide bomber killed 24 people including teenage students at an education centre in Kabul on Oct. 24. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, without providing evidence.

Taliban insurgents issued a statement condemning the latest attack and denying any involvement.

Violence has plagued Afghanistan while government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal and as the United States brings home its troops.

In a post on Twitter, the Presidential Palace announced a day of mourning on Tuesday, for which the Afghan flag will fly at half mast in the country and at its diplomatic missions around the world.

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Orooj Hakimi and Hamid Shalizi; Additional reporting by Hameed Farzad in Kabul and Nayera Abdallah in Cairo; writing by Charlotte Greenfield and Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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At Least 19 People Are Killed In Attack On Kabul University : NPR

A man, wounded after gunmen stormed Kabul University, arrives in an ambulance at Isteqlal Hospital on Monday. At least 19 people died in the attack on Afghanistan’s largest university.

Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images


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Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

A man, wounded after gunmen stormed Kabul University, arrives in an ambulance at Isteqlal Hospital on Monday. At least 19 people died in the attack on Afghanistan’s largest university.

Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

Gunmen disguised as policemen stormed Kabul University in the Afghan capital in an hours-long assault on Monday, killing at least 19 people and wounding 22 more, including students who jumped out of windows to flee the attackers. It is the second attack on a learning center in Kabul in recent days, and comes amid a spike in violence across the country.

The assault coincided with a book fair that attracted senior Afghan and Iranian officials to the sprawling campus, including Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian. It was not immediately clear whether any of the officials were killed or wounded.

But it seems students were targeted in the well-coordinated attack. A 22-year-old public administration student said she heard a deafening blast. Then, “I saw with my own eyes, there were a lot of attackers in police uniforms,” said Nilofer Farahmand.

She says the assailants rushed to the law internship center, where she was in class. Someone yelled at students to flee, she said. Later, she learned on a WhatsApp group that gunmen had taken two classes hostage, and opened fire on the students and teachers.

Some students jumped out of their second-floor class windows to flee the gunmen, she said. Other students scaled over high university walls to flee the attackers, and at least two were admitted into a hospital, said Marco Puntin, of the medical aid group Emergency, which runs several faculties across Afghanistan.

Graphic photographs of the carnage were uploaded by Afghan reporters suggesting the extent of the horror within the university’s classrooms. One showed young men curled into a corner, blood pooled around them amid upturned chairs.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, the second it has carried out in Kabul in less than 10 days, after a suicide bomber late last month blew himself up outside an education center, killing more than 20 people, including many students. ISIS also claimed responsibility for that attack – which was effectively a copy-cat of a 2018 attack by the extremist group on an education center that killed dozens of teenagers who were studying for university entrance exams.

The ISIS claim says two of its fighters attacked a group of graduating judges and investigators with their weapons and gunfire.

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Islamic State attack on Kabul University kills 22, wounds 22

KABUL —An hours-long siege on Kabul University claimed by the Islamic State left at least 22 dead and 22 wounded Monday after two gunmen stormed the campus, took several students hostage and battled security forces for hours before the scene was cleared and all hostages were freed.

Students killed by gunmen at Afghan university

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The attack in Afghanistan’s capital began with an explosion at the gates of the university just before 11 a.m. Monday. Thousands of students fled, but a number trapped inside began posting to social media describing seeing classmates gunned down.

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“God give patience, my classmates martyred and wounded in front of my eyes, and I am taken hostage,” Qaseem Kohestani, a fourth-year student at the university’s public policy school, posted to Facebook.

A law student told The Washington Post that dozens of students and some professors were taken hostage in the attack. The student spoke on the condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

[Taliban shows it can launch attacks anywhere across Afghanistan, even as peace talks continue]

Afghan police special forces were dispatched to the scene. Coalition forces from the U.S.-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan “provided support” to Afghan security forces during the operation, according to a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with Pentagon regulations.



a man standing next to a building: Police stand guard outside Kabul University in Kabul on Monday.


© Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images
Police stand guard outside Kabul University in Kabul on Monday.

After an assault that lasted over five hours, the Interior Ministry declared the campus secured. The ministry said hundreds of students were rescued by Afghan security forces.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office condemned the attack and declared a national day of mourning Tuesday.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released by the group’s media arm Monday night. The Taliban denied involvement in a statement released shortly after the attack began.

Monday’s siege bore hallmarks of past attacks on similar targets. In 2018, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on a shrine near Kabul University where Afghanistan’s Shiite ethnic Hazara community had gathered to mark the Persian new year. And in 2016, the Taliban attacked the American University in Kabul, killing 11 and wounding 30 in an assault that trapped some students all night as a gun battle raged for nine hours.

This is the second significant attack targeting civilians in Kabul in recent weeks. Last month, a suicide attack on an education center in west Kabul killed 24 people, mostly students, and wounded 70 others. The Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Overall, large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital have dropped in recent months. The Islamic State group was weakened by Afghan military operations last year supported by U.S. air power that pushed it from strongholds in the country’s east. And large Taliban attacks in urban areas decreased significantly after the United States and the Taliban signed a deal in February on the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

But a handful of Islamic State-claimed attacks

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Afghanistan: Gunmen kill at least 10 students in attack on Kabul university

The three attackers killed at least 19 people including students before Afghan security forces shot the gunmen dead, authorities said.

Photos shared by a senior government official showed students lying dead in classrooms, some next to their books. One student appeared to have been shot as they were climbing out of a window.

“They were shooting at every student they saw … they even shot at the students who were running away,” witness Fathullah Moradi told Reuters.

The Taliban said their fighters were not involved in the assault. No other group immediately claimed responsibility.

Nineteen people were killed and 22 wounded before the security services ended the assault, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

“This is the second attack on educational institutions in Kabul … Afghan children & youth need to feel safe going to school,” NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Stefano Pontecorvo said in a statement.

A suicide bomber killed 24 people including teenage students at an education centre in Kabul on Oct. 24. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, without providing evidence.

Violence has plagued Afghanistan while government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal and as the United States brings home its troops.

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IS Attack On Kabul University Kills 22

At least 22 people were killed when attackers stormed one of Afghanistan’s main universities on Monday, detonating a suicide bomb and spraying classrooms with bullets in a brazen hours-long assault claimed by Islamic State group.

The attack on Kabul University, which came as violence surges across Afghanistan, marked the second time in less than two weeks that an educational institution was targeted in the capital by IS extremists.

Survivors described horrific scenes following the incident that unfolded around 11:00 am (0530 GMT) when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the campus.

Two gunmen then started shooting, officials said, sending hundreds of students fleeing and scrambling over perimeter walls.

Afghan special forces evacuate wounded people after gunmen stormed Kabul University ahead of the opening of an Iranian book fair, firing shots and sending students fleeing. Afghan special forces evacuate wounded people after gunmen stormed Kabul University ahead of the opening of an Iranian book fair, firing shots and sending students fleeing. Photo: Afghanistan Interior Ministry

Fraidoon Ahmadi, a 23-year-old student, told AFP he was in class when gunfire broke out at the university.

“We were very scared and we thought it could be the last day of our lives… boys and girls were shouting, praying and crying for help,” Ahmadi said.

He said he and other students were besieged for more than two hours before being rescued.

Distressing images posted online showed what appeared to be the bodies of slain students lying by desks and chairs.

“They opened fire … all my classmates were lying in blood, either dead or wounded,” one student told a local television channel, adding that he escaped by climbing out a window.

The attack marked the second time in less than two weeks an educational institution was targeted in the capital The attack marked the second time in less than two weeks an educational institution was targeted in the capital Photo: AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR

IS said two of its fighters carried out the brazen daylight attack.

“Two Islamic State fighters managed to attack a gathering set up by the Afghan government at the Kabul University for the graduation of judges and investigators after completing a course at the university,” the group’s propaganda arm Amaq said.

“The two fighters targeted the graduates with automatic weapons… then clashed with security forces.”

The Ministry of Public Health said at least 22 people were killed and 22 more wounded. Officials said most of the casualties were students.

Kabul gun attack Kabul gun attack Photo: AFP / STAFF

It was not immediately clear how the attackers got their weapons into the university, which has security checks.

Officials said an investigation was under way.

It took Afghan security forces, supported by US troops, several hours to clear the campus and declare the attack over.

The Taliban said they were not involved, but Vice President Amrullah Saleh blamed the insurgent group and their supporters in Pakistan, even as he acknowledged an intelligence failure.

It took several hours to clear the campus and declare the attack over It took several hours to clear the campus and declare the attack over Photo: AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR

We “will correct our intelligence failures. But the Talibs, their like minded satanic allies in the next door won’t be ever able to wash their Conscience of this stinking & non justifiable attack on Kbul uni,” Saleh wrote

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Gunmen storm Kabul University in second deadly attack on students

KABUL (Reuters) – Gunmen stormed Kabul University, killing students in their classrooms and firing on others as they fled on Monday, in the second attack on an educational institution in the city in just over a week, officials and witnesses said.

The three attackers killed at least 19 people including students before Afghan security forces shot the gunmen dead, authorities said.

Photos shared by a senior government official showed students lying dead in classrooms, some next to their books. One student appeared to have been shot as they were climbing out of a window.

“They were shooting at every student they saw … they even shot at the students who were running away,” witness Fathullah Moradi told Reuters.

The Taliban said their fighters were not involved in the assault. No other group immediately claimed responsibility.

Nineteen people were killed and 22 wounded before the security services ended the assault, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

“This is the second attack on educational institutions in Kabul … Afghan children & youth need to feel safe going to school,” NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Stefano Pontecorvo said in a statement.

A suicide bomber killed 24 people including teenage students at an education centre in Kabul on Oct. 24. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, without providing evidence.

Violence has plagued Afghanistan while government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal and as the United States brings home its troops.

Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Orooj Hakimi and Hamid Shalizi; Additional reporting by Hameed Farzad; writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Robert Birsel, Simon Cameron-Moore and Andrew Heavens

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Gunmen Stage Attack on Kabul University, Killing at Least 22

(Bloomberg) — Three gunmen attacked Afghanistan’s largest university killing at least 22 people and wounding 22 others, the latest bout of violence to wrack the capital Kabul as the government and Taliban engage in negotiations to end the 19-year-conflict.



a group of people in a park: Police guard an entrance to Kabul University following the attack on Monday.


© Photographer: -/AFP
Police guard an entrance to Kabul University following the attack on Monday.

Afghan special forces arrived at Kabul University shortly after the attack began late morning, fighting the assailants and saving the lives of hundreds of students, said Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the interior ministry. The gunmen were shot dead after a standoff that lasted for more than six hours. Massuma Jafari, a spokeswoman at the health ministry, confirmed the casualties.

Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Twitter called the attack the result of an “intelligence failure” and claimed the Taliban had orchestrated the university assault. However in a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed denied his group’s involvement.

Footage aired on Tolo News, the country’s largest television channel, showed desperate students fleeing the campus, with some trying to scale walls to get away.

‘Blood Everywhere’

“The assailants were shooting at anyone facing them,” Mohammad Aziz, a political science student at Kabul University, said in an interview. “They stormed my classroom, and the moment they entered they started shooting at the students and I saw blood everywhere.”

Early U.S. Troop Pullout May Upset Fragile Intra-Afghan Talks

The latest attack comes a week after a suicide bomber targeted a private tutoring institute in Kabul, killing some 24 people and wounding 70 others.

Afghanistan has witnessed a sharp upswing in violence even as negotiators from the government and the Taliban have been attempting to negotiate a roadmap for peace. The U.S.-facilitated negotiations began in September and haven’t reduced violence across the country.

“Today’s attack has left us grief-stricken,” President Ashraf Ghani’s office said on Twitter. “This attack will not remain without response; we will retaliate.”

(Updates with casualties from first paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Gunmen kill at least 19 in attack on Afghanistan’s Kabul University

Gunmen killed at least 19 people in a Monday morning attack on Afghanistan’s Kabul University, the nation’s Ministry of Interior announced.



a person walking down the street: Gunmen kill at least 19 in attack on Afghanistan's Kabul University


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Gunmen kill at least 19 in attack on Afghanistan’s Kabul University

“Several terrorists and enemies of knowledge entered Kabul University,” ministry spokesman Tariq Arian tweeted. At least 19 people were killed in the attack, Arian said, adding that police “rescued many people.”

Officials said the three known attackers took several students hostage during an attack that played out for several hours. All three suspects have been killed, officials said, although it was unclear whether any hostages were killed or injured.

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NATO-led Resolute Support forces aided Afghan security personnel at the scene, according to CBS News, which cited a military official.

Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh accused Pakistan of harboring Taliban militants, whom he blamed for the attack. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the militant group, denied that the Taliban was responsible for the attack, CBS reported. Taliban forces previously killed 13 people in a 2016 attack on Kabul’s American University of Afghanistan.

The shootings on Monday occurred as the university hosted a literary exhibition spotlighting Afghan and Iranian literature. Several high-ranking officials and diplomats, including the Iranian ambassador, were slated to attend.

The attack comes during ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which for years refused to directly negotiate with officials in Kabul. Abdullah Abdullah, chair of the government body overseeing the peace negotiations, condemned the attack.

“Targeting educational institutions is a heinous crime,” Abdullah said. “Students have the right to study in peace and security.”

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