THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF AFGHANISTAN IN KABUL IS UNDER ASSAULT, WHILE SECURITY FORCES EXCHANGE GUNFIRE WITH THE ATTACKERS.
The number of students and professors inside are unknown, as is the identity of the attackers. The U.S. State Department this morning acknowledged reports of the attack on an official Twitter account.
“REPORTS OF ATTACK ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN KABUL. EXERCISE CAUTION, AVOID UNNECESSARY MOVEMENT IN THE AREA & MONITOR NEWS FOR UPDATES,” THE AGENCY SAID.
Reports of attack on American University in #Kabul. Exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement in the area & monitor news for updates.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) August 24, 2016
MASSOUD HOSSAINI, A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, TWEETED THAT HE IS TRAPPED INSIDE.
“Help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting followed [sic] by Explo this maybe my last tweets,” he wrote.
The attackers managed to enter Noor Hospital, adjacent to the school, according to eyewitnesses.
The American University of Afghanistan opened in 2006, and was a pet project of former first lady Laura Bush, who helped launch the institution on a 2005 visit to Kabul, the capital.
Much of its funding has come from the U.S. Agency for International Development, which administers civilian foreign aid, and today has more than 1,700 full- and part-time students. It has produced 29 Fulbright Scholars and maintains partnerships with many U.S. colleges, such as Stanford, Georgetown and the University of California network.
But the university has been no stranger to threats of violence since its creation.
Two professors at the university — one American and one Australian — were abducted at gun point outside the university campus earlier this month, underscoring the deteriorating security situation in the capital and across the country more generally.
Also, two people employed by the university were killed in 2014 when a suicide bomber set off an explosion inside of a Kabul restaurant that was popular with ex-pats.