2020 Kabul University attack

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2020 Kabul University attack
Part of the November 2020 Afghanistan attacks
2020 Kabul University attack is located in Kabul
2020 Kabul University attack
2020 Kabul University attack (Kabul)
LocationKabul, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Coordinates34°31′03″N 69°07′56″E / 34.51750°N 69.13222°E / 34.51750; 69.13222Coordinates: 34°31′03″N 69°07′56″E / 34.51750°N 69.13222°E / 34.51750; 69.13222
Date2 November 2020
TargetAttendees at an Iranian book fair
Attack type
Mass shooting
Deaths35 (including three attackers)
Injured50[1]
PerpetratorsIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province

On 2 November 2020, three gunmen stormed the campus of Kabul University in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 32 people and wounding 50 others.[1] The attack began around the time that government officials were expected to arrive at the campus for the opening of an Iranian book fair. The three gunmen were later killed during a fight with security forces.[2] The attack occurred at around 11:00 A.M. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.[2][3]

The attack came after months of increased tensions between the Afghan government, the Taliban, and ISIL-affiliated fighters.[2]

Background[edit]

The University of Kabul has been one of Afghanistan's largest institutions of higher education, with a student body of 22,000.[4] The university had previously been attacked when in July 2019 a bomb had killed nine outside of the university gates.[4] Just over a week before the November attack on the university, a suicide bomber had killed 30 at another educational institution in Kabul.[5]

On the day of the attack the university was hosting an international bookfair.[4][6] Several Afghan government officials and the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan were expected to attend the event.[7][8]

Attack[edit]

The attack began on the morning of 2 November at around 11:00 A.M. A group of armed gunmen detonated an explosive[6] at the gate to the university's grounds, after which they entered the compound, killing bystanders and later taking around 35 hostages.[9] Many students were able to escape the attack by climbing over the university's perimeter walls, while those trapped in buildings were forced to shelter in place.[9][2] Some of the wounded from the attack were evacuated to nearby Ali Abad hospital.[9]

Kabul police and Afghan army special forces were dispatched to the university and set up a perimeter around the site, after which they engaged in a building-by-building sweep of the grounds over the next few hours.[2][6] American and Danish soldiers as well as Norwegian special forces also responded to the attack.[9][10][11]

Following the attack, SITE Intelligence Group reported that the regional branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had claimed responsibility for the killings. The Afghan Taliban denied responsibility for the attack, though one Afghan government official attributed it to the group.[9]

Casualties[edit]

Thirty-five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured. The majority of the victims were students at the university, who were all part of the public administration facility.[12] Afghanistan's TOLOnews described the deaths as Afghanistan "losing its talented youth" as many of the victims were reportedly among the top performers in their classes.[13]

Reactions[edit]

Tehran's Azadi Tower illuminated as memorials to the attack

The attack was widely condemned both nationally and internationally. The presidential spokesman said "terrorists" were "attacking academic centers after they were defeated in Helmand". First Vice President Amrullah Saleh tweeted "One day we will correct our intelligence failures. But the Talibs, their likeminded satanic allies in the next door won’t be ever able to wash their conscience of this stinking and non-justifiable attack on Kabul University." Former President Hamid Karzai called it an "unforgivable crime".[14] Saad Mohseni of Tolo News described the attack as "These animals are killing our children."[15] The Afghan government declared the day after the attack to be a national day of mourning.[16]

Saleh admitted that the attack was an intelligence failure[17] and he faced backlash after blaming the attack on the Taliban, who, in response, denied it.[18]

Both Pakistan and India condemned the attack,[19][20][21][22] as did other countries, the United Nations Security Council, and UN Secretary General António Guterres.[23][24][25][26][27]

Students from the university told local press the next day that the attack would not deter them from pursuing their education.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Death toll from Kabul University attack rises to at least 35 as anger grows". Reuters. Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Gunmen storm Kabul University, killing 19 and wounding 22". The Washington Post. 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Attack on Kabul University in Afghanistan's capital leaves at least 19 dead". CBS News. 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Safi, Michael; Makoii, Akhtar Mohammad (2 November 2020). "Attack on Kabul University by Isis gunmen leaves 22 dead". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Latest: At Least 30 Killed in Saturday's Blast in Western Kabul". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "At least 22 dead as gunmen target students at Afghanistan's Kabul University". France 24. 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Iran-Afghanistan 3rd joint Book Fair kicks off". Mehr News Agency. 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  8. ^ "IS claims responsibility for Afghan university attack that leaves 22 dead". Irvine Times. Press Association. 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Faizi, Fatima (2 November 2020). "Gunmen Storm Kabul University, Killing at Least 19". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Shooting at the University of Kabul – NRK Urix – Foreign..." AlKhaleej Today (in Arabic). 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Mission Update uge 46 – 2020 –" (in Danish). 3 November 2020.
  12. ^ Nabila Ashrafi (3 November 2020). "University Attack: Who Were The Victims?". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  13. ^ Khaled Nikzad (3 November 2020). "'Afghanistan Lost Its Talented Youth in University Attack'". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  14. ^ Khaled Nikzad (2 November 2020). "Kabul University Attack Called 'Unforgivable Crime'". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  15. ^ Saad Mohseni (3 November 2020). "These Animals Are Killing Our Children". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  16. ^ "'Act of terror': At least 22 killed in Kabul University attack". Al Jazeera English. 3 November 2020. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Kabul University Attack an Intelligence Failure: Saleh". menafn.com. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  18. ^ "VP Saleh Faces Backlash over Tweet Blaming Taliban for University Attack". 3 November 2020. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  19. ^ Post, The Jakarta. "IS attack on Kabul University kills 22". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  20. ^ "India strongly condemns terror attack at Kabul University". The Week.
  21. ^ ""Inhuman Act": India Condemns Terror Attack At Kabul University". NDTV.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  22. ^ "India Strongly Condemns Terror Attack at Kabul University". The Wire. Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack at Kabul University, Afghanistan | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". www.un.org. Archived from the original on 6 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  24. ^ "President of Tehran University condemns terrorist attacks on Kabul University". iranpress.com. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  25. ^ "UN Chief Guterres strongly condemns 'appalling attack' at Kabul University". The Indian Express. 3 November 2020. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  26. ^ "UAE strongly condemns terror attack on Kabul University". www.mofaic.gov.ae. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  27. ^ "Second recent attack on Kabul school draws Guterres' strong condemnation". UN News. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  28. ^ Tamim Hamid (3 November 2020). "Students Ready to Continue Studies Despite Attack". Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.