American University is under attack in Kabul with reports of gunfire, an explosion, and trapped students.
Casualty reports varied throughout the day, but in the end, one guard was reported dead and 21 students injured, said CNN. Then came reports that the terrorists were dead.
One report said attackers were throwing grenades inside classrooms.
There were reports that special forces had entered the university, and gunfire had quieted.
Social media users are tweeting from the attack at the Afghanistan-based university, with one man, Massoud Hossaini, a Pulitzer Prize winning Associated Press photographer with a blog and Twitter page, saying it might be his last tweets. “Help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting flollowed by Explo this maybe my last tweets,” he wrote. However, his tweet was then deleted. Hossaini escaped, said The Associated Press, quoting him as saying, “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” but he and others escaped through a gate.
Another man, a student named Mohammad Qasemi, wrote on Facebook: “…they are killing us” and said the Taliban was behind the attack. His comment thread filled up with prayers and well wishes, but he had not commented again. His Facebook profile said he was an entrepreneur and advocate for youth empowerment.
The university is host to many foreign faculty, including professors from the United States.
The BBC reported gunfire and a blast at the university in Kabul. “Gunfire and explosion heard at American University in Afghan capital, Kabul, police say,” was all BBC said as the incident first occurred the morning of August 24.
The U.S. State Department advised Americans to avoid the area around the university.
Massoud Hossaini’s Twitter page says, “I was born in the wrong place, Afg, Grew up in the wrong place, Iran, living in the wrong place, kabul.”
One CBS News journalist reportedly escaped, but others were trapped inside. People were using the hashtag #AUAF on Twitter to inform people of the incident. Dozens of students were trapped on the five-acre campus and wounded were taken away in ambulances, said The Los Angeles Times.
The school opened in 2006 and is attended by 1,700 students, said WFSB.
Fox News quoted police as saying it was a “complex attack,” and added that, “Reporters in the area said students and teachers were sheltering in place as police and special forces surrounded the campus. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.”
American University is the same university in Kabul, Afghanistan, where two professors were recently kidnapped, although their names were never released. The university had reopened on August 11 after the kidnappings with heightened security. The Washington Post quoted its head as saying at the time, “AUAF is a lasting legacy of the U.S. in Afghanistan, and we will not be deterred.” The kidnapped professors were American and Australian.
The two professors were “seized at gunpoint and dragged from their SUV near the high-walled urban campus” in early August, according to The Post.
The attack on the university campus comes the day after an American soldier was killed by an IED in Afghanistan while helping train Afghan police. The soldier’s name has not been released, but he was reportedly working to clear a province of IEDs in an area in which the Taliban was resurging.
Stay tuned to this story for updates. There was no immediate claim of responsibility in Kabul.