Gunmen attack American University in Kabul, witnesses say
Photo: A wounded person is treated in an ambulance after a complex Taliban attack on the campus of the American University in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (Rahmat Gul / Associated Press)
24.08.2016, 9.40 am
Gunmen attacked the American University of Afghanistan on Wednesday evening, according to eyewitnesses.
Several students were trapped inside the building, witnesses said, and the wounded were being taken away by ambulances. About 40 students had managed to escape the building, a police source said. The number of casualties was not immediately clear.
A police crisis response unit had arrived on the scene, and gun shots could still be heard as of 9 p.m. local time.
Police believe there is just one assailant, spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
“My class was over, and I was planning to leave. Then suddenly I heard gunshots,” Ahmad Mukhtar, a student who managed to escape the attack, said. “I tried to find shelter, but a blast took place and I ran toward a wall and managed to escape by climbing the wall and injured my leg.”
Gunmen storm American University
“Several students have been killed and injured; many students and professors are stuck,” a student inside the university told The Times over the phone. “Some managed to escape, but we are still here. Please help us.”
Associated Press photographer Massoud Hossaini said he was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion on the southern flank of the campus.
“I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass,” Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.
The students then barricaded themselves inside the classroom, pushing chairs and desks against the door and staying on the floor.
Hossaini and about nine students managed to escape from the campus through a northern emergency gate.
“As we were running, I saw someone lying on the ground facedown. They looked like they had been shot in the back,” he said.
Hossaini and the nine students took refuge in a residential house near the campus.
University President Mark English told the Associated Press that security forces had arrived on the scene soon after the attack began around 7 p.m., adding, “We are trying to assess the situation.”
Other witnesses say they heard explosions and automatic gunfire. Ambulances arrived at the campus in western Kabul, but it was not immediately clear how many people had been wounded.
The attack comes two weeks after two university staff were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
Faizy is a special correspondent. The Associated Press contributed to this report.