Kabul attack: Gunfire and blast rock American University

BBC News, August 24, 2016

A militant attack is believed to be taking place at the American University in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A large explosion has been heard and students barricaded inside rooms in the building say they can hear gunfire close by.

The emergency hospital says it has received five injured people from the scene so far.

Police have described it as a “complex attack” and have deployed special forces.

The university president, Mark English, told AP news agency that a militant attack was underway and “we are trying to assess the situation”.

Student Ahmad Mukhtar told the BBC that he was 100m (320ft) away from the university’s main entrance when he heard “six or 10” shots and a “huge” blast.

The explosion created so much light that it momentarily lit up the surrounding area, he said.

Then there were was more firing inside the campus. He added that he had also heard students shouting.

“I climbed a six-metre wall to escape,” Ahmad said.

Another student told AFP news agency he was stuck inside his class with other students.

“I heard explosions, and gunfire is going on close by,” he said by telephone. Other trapped students were tweeting desperate pleas for help.

The attack comes two weeks after two university staff – one American, one Australian – were kidnapped by unknown gunmen. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

The university, which first opened its doors to students in 2005, is a non-profit private university chartered in the US.

It offers English courses, adult professional qualifications and bachelor degree programmes, among others.

About 1,000 students are enrolled; many are adults who study part-time and also have jobs.