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1 Student Killed in Terror Attack on American University in Kabul

1 Student Killed in Terror Attack on American University in Kabul

Afghan security forces rush to respond to a complex Taliban attack on the campus of the American University in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (Rahmat Gul/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 August 2016 02:03 PM

KABUL —Foreign staff and dozens of students were trapped inside the campus of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday after suspected militants attacked it with explosives and gunfire, a senior government official said.

The interior ministry official said that elite Afghan forces had surrounded the university compound, where shooting lasted for more than an hour after the assault began at around 6.30 p.m. (1400 GMT).

Witnesses at the scene said gunfire had since stopped, and special forces had made their way into the compound.

News on casualties was sketchy, but Mohammad Saleem Rasouly, head of hospitals in the Afghan capital, told Reuters that at least one student had been killed and 14 wounded.

Islamist militant groups, mainly the Afghan Taliban and a local offshoot of Islamic State, have claimed a string of atrocities aimed at destabilizing the country and toppling the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.

No one has claimed the university attack yet.

Early reports suggested that several gunmen, some wearing suicide vests, were involved, the official said.

"Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions," he said. "They are inside the compound and there are foreign professors along with hundreds of students."

Ahmad Shaheer, a student, told Reuters by telephone that he was trapped inside the university. "We are stuck inside our classroom and there are bursts of gunfire," he said.

Police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said security forces were conducting a clearing operation to track down the "terrorists." He said it was still not clear if there were one or two attackers.

 

All other personnel on the campus were being evacuated, he said. He had no further details on the nature of the attack.

The Pentagon said U.S. military advisers were on the ground with Afghan security forces at the university. Spokesman Adam Stump said the forces had been embedded with the Afghan units.

The attack on AUAF comes two weeks after two university staff, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen on Aug. 7. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

The university was established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the U.S. system. More than 1,000 students are currently enrolled in degree courses.

Taliban insurgents control large swaths of Afghanistan, and local armed forces are struggling to contain them, especially in the provinces of Helmand to the south and Kunduz to the north.

NATO ended its combat mission in December 2014, but thousands of troops remain to train and assist Afghan forces, while several thousand more U.S. soldiers are engaged in a separate mission focusing on al-Qaida and ISIS.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Foreign staff and dozens of students were trapped inside the campus of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday after suspected militants attacked it with explosives and gunfire, a senior government official said.
kabul, american, university, attack
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2016-03-24
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 02:03 PM
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