This is the second deadly attack on education institutions recently in Kabul. A suicide bomber near a tutoring center a fortnight ago killed 24, most of whom teen students. This is a brazen attempt by enemies of education to plunge Afghanistan into darkness
By Farhad Naibkhel
KABUL: A group of terrorists stormed the sprawling Kabul University campus Monday morning and wreaked havoc by erratically shooting at students, killing at least 19 people mostly students, officials said, marking a second attack on education institutions in Kabul since October 25.
A gun battle broke out inside Kabul University after multiple attackers stormed the campus, sending thousands of students fleeing, said Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian.
At least 19 people, mostly students including 10 girls and a teacher were killed and 22 others were injured in the attack. “The terrorists faced a fierce counterassault by security forces and the gun battle ended after six hours with all the three assailants killed in the aftermath,” he added.
The Taliban denied involvement in the attack. Afghan education centres have often been targeted by militants in recent years.
Security forces had blocked the campus and fired back at the gunmen.
Hundreds of students who couldn’t escape were trapped inside the campus, but security forces rushed in and secured their exit, he said. “The operation to purge the terrorists out of the university was carried out with extreme caution to prevent any harm to the stranded students,” he added.
Video footage from the scene showed students walking and running away from the university, with the sound of gunfire in the background. Some scaled walls in an effort to escape.
The attack comes ahead of the opening of an Iranian book fair attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting. The attack began when government officials were expected to arrive for the opening of the fair.
Around 25,000 students study in Kabul University in three shifts and congestion of students in the morning is overwhelmingly high compared to other shifts.
The attack marks the second terrorist assault on education institutions in Kabul. On October 25, a suicide bomber killed 24, most of whom teen students, outside a tutoring center in western Kabul. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
This signals a dangerous escalation of attacks on education and a shift in terrorist tactics to target Afghanistan’s students, with an attempt to prevent from educational development and plunge Afghanistan into darkness.
The terrorist attack has drawn strong condemnation by high-ranking officials. Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in his twitter condemned the terrorist attack on Kabul University. NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo and European Union representative in Afghanistan also condemned the attack on Kabul University as an atrocious act and breach of humanitarian law.
Violence in Afghanistan has worsened in recent months even as the Taliban conducts peace talks with the government in Qatar.