It took the police six hours to free the hostages taken by three armed men and resolve the incident for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
Three armed men shot into Kabul University on Monday. Hearing shots, many students and professors have fled the campus. However, not all have succeeded and many have been retained, according to some students on their social networks. Almost six hours later, the authorities concluded the rescue operation and confirmed the death of 19 people, in addition to the assailants. The local Islamic State faction has claimed responsibility for the action.
“The savage terrorist attack on the University of Kabul has ended with the deaths of the three responsible. Martyrs have resulted in this incident [sic] 19 people and another 22 have been injured ”, reported the Interior Ministry spokesman, Tariq Arian, on his official Twitter account.
The assault on the university had started mid-morning when the three terrorists broke into the Law School building where Afghan and Iranian officials were opening a display of Iranian books. First there was an explosion and then the shooting began. According to the Interior spokesman, one of the assailants has detonated the explosives that he was carrying at the beginning of the attack and the other two have been later killed by the security forces.
A video broadcast by the Afghan television network Tolo TV showed the students fleeing while gunshots were heard in the background. Many of them have shared scenes from that moment recorded with their mobile phones on social networks. “Please, God, give me patience. They have killed or injured my companions before my eyes. They have taken us hostage. The police have not arrived, ”wrote a student on his Facebook at the beginning of the attack.
Shortly after, the security forces blocked all access roads to the University of Kabul, west of the capital, and the local media reported the arrival of special commandos on campus.
The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, as the local faction of the group known as ISIS calls itself, has claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released by its propaganda organ, Amaq. However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has targeted the Taliban when in his condemnation message he said that “terrorists are attacking academic centers after being defeated in Helmand.” He was referring to the offensive that the guerrillas launched in the middle of the month against that province in southern Afghanistan and that motivated the aid of US aviation. The Afghan government considers that all insurgent groups operating in the country cooperate in a or another way to tear it down.
Earlier, a Taliban spokesman said that his militants had nothing to do with the assault, a stance he has echoed after recent attacks on civilians. Beyond the doubts raised by their denials due to the alliance they maintain with other insurgents, the Taliban have an interest in distancing themselves from this type of action due to the agreement they signed with the United States last February for the withdrawal of foreign forces. . All Islamic extremists have a long history of targeting educational institutions.
The scenes broadcast by the students recall a similar assault four years ago against the American University of Afghanistan, which ended in the deaths of 12 people, in addition to the three attackers. Last year a bomb at the gates of the campus attacked this Monday killed eight people. Just 10 days ago, a suicide bomber from the local Islamic State faction killed 24 students at a school in Dasht-e Barchi, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the capital.
The attack against the University is the second to take place this Monday in Kabul. Early in the morning, a bomb killed a policeman and wounded a civilian in Khwaja Sabz, a wealthy part of the city. Both the European Union mission and the NATO representative in Afghanistan have condemned the attack and reiterated the need for Afghan children and youth to be able to attend class in a safe environment.