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Kabul University student’s heavy hearted return to devastated campus

December 11th, 2020
topic: Security
by: Shadi Khan Saif
located in: Afghanistan
tags: ISIS, Kabul, Taliban, terrorist attack

Young Kabul University students walked with heavy hearts over the shattered glass pieces across the bullet-riddled classrooms two days after the devastating terrorist attack in the Afghan capital.

The smell of the victim’s blood was still in the air and shells from the rounds of bullets sprayed indiscriminately on their fellow students were lying under the fallen tree leaves on this chilling autumn morning, Wednesday 04 November 2020, when classes resumed.

​Pretending to be dead only to stay alive

As per the official account of the incident, the attackers entered the KU on Monday at around 11.00 a.m. (06:00 GMT) through the northern gate, causing chaos, with students running for their lives, some jumping from windows, and some lying on the floor among the dead pretending to be dead only to stay alive.

“We would never feel the same liberty and the sense of security here [at Kabul University] that we had despite being surrounded by the across the country for more than four decades. Now, like so many other places, the university also feels very haunting”, Rehmat Ullah, a third-year student told FairPlanet.

According to many eye-witnesses, what they initially thought as just another ‘routine’ roadside blast followed by gunfire turned out to be their worst nightmare proving true, an armed assault on their dear academic institute.

“Two men disguised in military uniform stormed in our classroom, and started shooting at everyone in their sight”, Mohammad Maseh, one such survivor said as he broke into tears. “I saw many of classmates killed in front of my eyes." He said the attackers were shooting at anything moving.

Established in the 1930s, the Kabul University, with over 20,000 registered students is the country’s biggest state-run academic institution located in the heart of country’s capital.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a statement the attack ended at around 17.00 p.m. (12:30 GMT) with all three attackers killed. “The vicious terrorist attack on Kabul University ended with all three terrorists killed. In this incident, unfortunately, 19 people were martyred and 22 others injured,” he said in a statement.

The war rhetoric

Shockwaves of the carnage continue to resonate inside the historic building of the Kabul University following the so-called Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack. The attackers were identified by the ISIS propaganda site Amaq as Anas Panjshiri and Tariq Khorasani. “It is beyond imagination and reason, why would someone or any group attack students inside a university, we have nothing to do with the ongoing war and politics”, questioned Rehmat Ullah.

Ironically, this is not the first time an entirely civilian academic institution has been attack in the Afghan capital. Just days before the recent spell of horror at the KU, at least 24 teenage students were killed in a similar Daesh-claimed attack on an academic institute in the capital’s Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood, an area largely inhabited by the Shia Hazara minority.

Two years back, the same neighbourhood saw over 30 young students killed in a similar raid claimed by the same group on a similar institution preparing young boys and girls for university entrance examination.

Now, this entire neighbourhood in the shattered Afghan capital feels like ghost town with posters of hundreds of mostly young ‘martyrs’, everywhere.

And, in the summer of 2016, the country’s American University of Afghanistan was stormed by the Taliban insurgents that left 13 people killed, including seven university students, one policeman, three security guards and a young university professor Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak.

A day after the bloodshed on Tuesday Nov. 4, posters emerged around the campus with slogans such as: "Republic (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) will prevail (against extremism), “We all will return to classes", as participants with grim faces took part in a protest rally here.

The country’s president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has vowed to take revenge from the ‘enemies of Afghanistan’ for the latest brazen attack.

"We convey a clear message to all terrorist groups including Taliban that such acts of terror and atrocity can never deter the resolve of steel of the great Afghan nation for a peaceful, stable and thriving Afghanistan... I enunciate to the brutal enemies of Afghanistan that this attack will not remain without response; we will retaliate", Ghani said in a televised speech late on Monday.

The Taliban, engaged in long-due nascent yet rejuvenated talks with the Afghan government, has rejected any involvement in the attack.

For many young seekers of education and knowledge at the KU, such as Rehmat Ullah, it is enough of the war rhetoric. “What have we achieved from this killing spree in the past four decades? The young generation wants peace so to pursue their own dreams in life than being sacrificed in the never-ending war”.

Article written by:
Shadi-Khan-Saif-1
Shadi Khan Saif
Author, Contributing Editor
Afghanistan
The vicious terrorist attack on Kabul University ended with all three terrorists killed. In this incident, 19 people were martyred and 22 others injured.
The vicious terrorist attack on Kabul University ended with all three terrorists killed. In this incident, 19 people were martyred and 22 others injured.
© Shadi Khan Saif
Initially thought to be just another ‘routine’ roadside blast followed by gunfire turned out to be the worst nightmare of students at Kabul University.
Initially thought to be just another ‘routine’ roadside blast followed by gunfire turned out to be the worst nightmare of students at Kabul University.
© Shadi Khan Saif
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