Explosions and gunfire rang out at American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday in what a police commander described as “a complex attack.”
Photo attributed to the attack on American University of Afghanistan in Kabul pic.twitter.com/EVunzOpyd3
— KAZEMI, Mustafa (@CombatJourno) August 24, 2016
Reporters in the area said teachers and hundreds of students took cover in classrooms and safe rooms as police and special forces surrounded the campus on the western outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital city. A car bomb had exploded outside a school for the blind next door before at least one attacker fired at the university campus from that school building, a police officer at the scene told The New York Times.
#AFG A police CDR Kabul’s rapid reaction force “We’re dealing with a complex attack inside the American university.Special forces en route”.
— Bilal Sarwary (@bsarwary) August 24, 2016
Witnesses told Fox News the gunfire had stopped but security teams were still sweeping the area. The numbers of people dead or injured were unclear, but ambulances raced victims to a nearby hospital.
Police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said investigators believed there was just one attacker. The university’s president, Mark English, tells The Associated Press, “we are trying to assess the situation.”
One student told AFP over the phone, “We are stuck inside and very afraid.” AP photographer Massoud Hossaini tweeted: “Help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting flollowed by Explo this maybe my last tweets”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban were in the middle of their summer offensive against Afghan government forces.
The university was established a decade ago, and claims an estimated 1,700 students are enrolled there.
Two of its professors were kidnapped at gunpoint in Kabul on August 7. The professors were identified as Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks from Australia. Men in military uniforms reportedly abducted them as they traveled between the campus and their home in Kabul. The professors’ whereabouts are unclear.