On Wednesday armed militants stormed the grounds housing the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 35 others during the ten hour long siege.
The attack began around 7 pm Kabul time. Though many were able to immediately escape, approximately 160 people were trapped inside the building while security forces surrounded the campus and cut electricity to the compound. Two attackers were eventually shot and killed by security forces.
The University is located in the center of Kabul, and frequently receives assistance and high praise from American dignitaries, including former first lady Laura Bush who helped raise $42 million for the University in 2008. It opened in 2006 and currently enrolls more than 1,700 students, 40 percent of whom are women.
In a statement yesterday Bush said, “Their dreams of progress and peace in Afghanistan will not be stifled by cowards who use violence in an attempt to instill fear. Armed with their education, these young men and women will continue to transform their country.”
Known destinations for foreigners in Afghanistan have come under increasing attack recently, including high end hotels, restaurants and cultural centers. A few weeks ago, two professors from the University, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped at gunpoint from their vehicle near the campus. On Sunday, two foreigners were kidnapped from their vehicle on a road close to the University. The whereabouts of all four are still unknown.
While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, this is the Taliban fighting season in Afghanistan. Currently the Taliban is engaged in fighting against Afghan forces in several provinces.