Islamic State-affiliated gunmen stormed Afghanistan’s largest university on Monday, killing more than a dozen students and forcing thousands of others to flee the campus in a hail of gunfire.
A spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry said the three assailants were killed after Afghan security forces and American troops moved to root them out, ending the massacre after six hours.
On Monday evening, Isis took responsibility for the attack, claiming it had targeted a “graduation gathering for judges and investigators of the apostate Afghan government”. It named two men as responsible.
The attack began shortly before the expected arrival of government for an Iranian book fair with an explosion at the gates of the university just after 11am on Monday that sent hundreds of students fleeing but left many others trapped inside. Photos shared by a senior government official showed students lying dead in classrooms, some next to their books. One student appeared to have been shot as they were climbing out of a window.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns this heinous crime in the strongest possible terms and stands in solidarity with the family of the victims. In recent years, students, professors and academics have been increasingly targeted in violent attacks – an unacceptable trend that hurts the future of societies at large. Universities, as all-in-one symbols of freedom, empowerment and peace are increasingly targeted for the values they promote, which stand in strong contrast with the extremist ideology and ruthless methods of terrorist groups. Endangered Scholars Worldwide recalls that schools and universities must be protected from attacks, as stated in the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict (formerly known as the Lucens Guidelines).