Gunfight erupts as militants attack Kabul University campus

Gunfire has erupted between Afghan security forces and armed militants, who staged an attack on Kabul University’s campus, leaving several people wounded.

Gunmen attacked the campus in the capital on Monday, after a bomb blast, as a book exhibition was being held by Afghan and Iranian officials there.

“The enemies of Afghanistan, the enemies of education… have entered Kabul University,” Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told reporters. “The security forces are in the area trying to control the situation. They are advancing carefully to prevent any harm to the students.”

“Gunshots still can be heard in the area but security forces have blocked it off,” he explained. “We don’t know whether we are dealing with a coordinated attack or something else.”

Reports said students left the campus immediately after they were informed of the attack.

At least eight people were injured, including a university instructor and a student, according to reports.

The Taliban denied their fighters were involved in the attack.

Hamid Obaidi, a spokesman for the ministry of higher education, said gunfire erupted prior to the arrival of government officials for the opening of the book exhibition.

Masooma Jafari, a Health Ministry official, confirmed that eight people, including students and teachers, had been taken to hospital. 

Last week two dozen people, mostly students, lost their lives as an educational center in western Kabul was targeted in an attack claimed by Daesh.

In 2018, a suicide bomber killed dozens of people, many of them teenagers, in front of Kabul University in an attack also claimed by Daesh.

The Taliban militant group is engaged in peace talks with the Afghan government in Qatar in an effort to end nearly two decades of war in the country.

The intra-Afghan talks began in the wake of a deal reached between the United States and the Taliban earlier this year in Doha.

Under the deal, Washington promised to pull out all its troops by mid-2021 in return for the Taliban to stop their attacks on US-led occupation foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Official data shows that Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group reached a deal with Washington.

American forces have also bombed Taliban positions in recent weeks in another sign of the collapse of the so-called peace talks with the militants. 

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