Afghanistan: Attack on American University in Kabul, students report on their dead and injured colleagues

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“LATEST: American university in Kabul is under attack by unknown gunmen”

(posted by Mirwais Afghan)

At around 7:50 p.m on Wednesday evening students and staff at the American University of Kabul in Afghanistan heard and felt a blast which signalled the complex was under attack. Unknown gunmen entered the University in an incident which resulted in at least 12 deaths and dozens injured. According to Abdul Basir Mujahid, a security spokesperson, the deceased included 7 students, 3 policemen and 2 security guards.

In the early stages of the attack Afghan news Agency TOLO reported,

“Officials have said the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) is on the campus of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul and are engaging insurgents as the attack continues. 

Insurgents gained entry into the heavily fortified compound at about 7pm local time on Wednesday after blowing open an entry point into the university – reportedly through the neighboring school for the blind.”

Terrified students tried to flee, injuring themselves as they leapt over walls. Some barricaded themselves into classrooms pleading for help and sending frantic text messages to friends and family wondering if they would come out alive.

Bilal Sarwary, an Afghan journalist following the security operation reported, “Afghan Special Forces have cut off electricity inside university” and later quoted an ASF commander who said,”we have rescued 260 students so far. Afghan Special Forces everywhere inside American university.” As the operation progressed, Sawary tweeted, “2 attackers shot dead by Afghan SF. 3rd attacker still alive. Many still trapped inside.”

After 10 hours of fierce fighting between ASF and the gunmen armed with grenades and automatic weapons, the incident was reported as over.

The injured

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Massoud Hossaini escaped with minor injuries (Image Fowzia Koofi)

Massoud Hossaini a photojournalist for Agence France-Presse and winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography tweeted, “help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting followed by Explo(sion) this maybe my last tweets.” The post was later deleted. He told Associated Press, “I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass.” Hossaini who was cut barricaded himself inside a classroom with fellow students jamming desks and chairs against the door. At least 2 grenades were thrown into the room injuring classmates. Hossaini found an escape route through an emergency exit with 9 others saying, “as we were running, I saw someone lying on the ground face down, they looked like they had been shot in the back.” Afghan security forces rescued the students from a house on the campus where they had sought shelter.

Hossaini later posted the following on Twitter,

The man who was taking#MyView still is live and never scare of terrorism🙂 I hope all of my classmates are ok.

Timor Sharan tweeted,

Asheq had a terrifying night He threw himself from the window and hid under the container. many still trapped.

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Ejaz Malikzada, a political science graduate posted a series of tweets highlighting the fate of fellow students and teachers. He tweeted,

Friend &clasmate,Naser Akbar, is fine.He’s a debator & championed several Int’l debate competitions on Bhalf of  

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Victims who died in the attack

Others did not escape death and included students, a professor and a member of the security forces.

Bashir Ahmad Gwakh (Fullbright programme) tweeted

I’m broken. My friend, fellow Fulbrighter & lecturer Naqeb Khpalwak killed. Didn’t answer my messages & calls.

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 Ejaz Malikzada tweeted,

Jamshid was a Law Student.He was studying alongside his sister. We lost him in His sister is fine.

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Mujib Mashall said,

I remember he was a regular, quiet presence at the Flower Street Cafe..working away in a corner. RIP.

Ejaz Malikzada,

We lost prof. Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak, faculty, graduate of law school. He was a friend. 😢

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Ejaz Malikzada,

Walid was a student at . May his soul rest in peace.

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Ejaz Malikzada

We lost Zubair after serious injury in . Zubair was a Law student.

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Ejaz Malikzada,

My friend Mujtaba Exceer wanted to Bcome business Pilot. We lost him in

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Background on the University

The University was considered a likely target for attack due to its strong connections to the US whose forces are seen as an occupying army according to militants. The University website which lists key dates in the history of the campus states, “in 2002, Dr. Sharif Fayez, the Afghan Minister of Higher Education, proposes the establishment of the nation’s first independent university, and in a speech to the nation, President Hamid Karzai stresses the importance of education to the country.” In 2008, “U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announces $42 million in funding from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) over five years .” In 2013, “the university signs another five year cooperative agreement with USAID valued at more than $40 million.”

The University also receives funding from the World Bank and Afghan Ministry of Education. As well as offering a variety of degree courses the institution includes a Business Innovation Hub, a Commercial Law Initiative and a $5 million International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development.

Recently two employees were kidnapped, see following statement.

Press Release-  Two American University of Afghanistan Faculty Abducted in Kabul, Afghanistan

August 9, 2016

Kabul, Afghanistan

The American University of Afghanistan confirms that on the evening of August 7, 2016, two of its faculty were abducted at gun point by unidentified gunmen on Darulaman Road.
The senior management of the university convened an emergency meeting immediately after the incident to review the security situation and to put in place additional precautionary measures. In coordination with the Board of Trustees, a crisis working group has been created to assist in managing this situation.
Campus operations have been temporarily suspended and we expect that operations will resume on August 10, 2016. “We are devastated by the news and will remain vigilant to ensure the safety and security of all university personnel and students” said Dr. Mark English, President of AUAF. Out of respect for the families and for reasons of privacy, the names of the persons involved are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.The university is in close contact with the Afghan security agencies as well as the relevant Embassies. Everything possible is being done to ensure their immediate and safe return.

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Reactions to the attack

Press release from President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

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U.S. Embassy Condemns Attack on American University Afghanistan

We condemn yesterday’s heinous attack on the American University Afghanistan in Kabul. The targeting of Afghan students and university staff who are working to improve the future of Afghanistan is a cruel and cowardly act.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those killed and injured, as well as with the victims’ families, colleagues, and friends,” said U.S. Ambassador P. Michael McKinley. “We remain strongly committed to the people of Afghanistan who are dedicated to establishing lasting peace and security and building the brightest possible future for their children.”

The U.S. Embassy stands ready to assist Afghan authorities with their continuing investigation in bringing those responsible to justice.

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Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,

We lost our finest one “Akbar” while rescuing students at . We mourn his loss & remember his sacrifices,

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Omaid Sharifi said “my cousin Alina, 18, had just joined AUAF; her dad is still in Pakistan to get her transcripts. She was murdered by Soldiers of Evil” He added, “they say it’s over after 12 dead and 40 injured; I say it is not. It was never over for us in the last 37 years. More of us will die, AUAF!”

The university posted the following,

“Dear All,

Needless to say, because of the recent terrorist attack on the University, the University’s Kabul campuses will be closed until further notice. The provincial centers are open and will operate normally. This page will keep communicating updates regularly.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Islamic Emirate: The Newton Laws of Kabul – The rowdier you are, the bigger share of government you shall have

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Post via Islamic Emirate

Ever since the bipolar regime of Kabul was christened by John Kerry we have witnessed an ever-growing rift within this dysfunctional government. This bickering has reached such a state that officials are now increasing hurling public insults at each other. On the one hand the war-criminal Rasheed Dostum is bemoaning his lack of power in the government while on the other hand Abdullah Abdullah is accusing Ashraf Ghani of not consulting him in decision-making and empowering his clansmen in key government and commercial positions. Even middle-ranking officials are not immune to this petty-meddling and regularly hurl insults at one another. The hostility of these officials has become so toxic that now we are witnessing open battles between government officials in Kabul’s streets.

Two days ago Ashraf Ghani held the independence ceremony in Arg (Presidential Palace) while Abdullah Abdullah held a separate ceremonial gathering in the Defense Ministry. Both invited foreign dignitaries to their respective gatherings and celebrated their supposed independence. While this show of disunity was taking place Kabul residents were witnessing open street battles between Police forces and armed supporters of Deen Muhammad Jurat which resulted in the death of four policemen.

The militia members of Jurat opened fire on police officers after the latter refused their entry to Auranos Hotel. A hotel located in the 15th district of Kabul which is regularly frequented by foreigners. Residents noted that this is not the first time such armed battles have taken place in the capital. According to them other dignitaries and governments officials have in the past also clashed with security forces causing serious bodily harm or even death.

When the government is such a state that each head of government is holding separate and competing ceremonial gatherings and publicly lauding their dependence on foreign forces and lack of independence while outside their affiliated militias are fighting armed gun battles, then is it conceivable that Afghans will ever consider recognizing them as the legitimate rulers of the land? Do such subservient and narrow-minded officials deserve the reins of power? How can foreigners stomach such a shameless and toothless government let alone support it?

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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Drone victim: Obama’s playbook is meaningless (Reprieve)

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Faisal bin ali Jaber lost family members to a drone strike (Image via Youtube)

A Yemeni engineer whose family members were mistakenly killed by a US drone has rejected the Obama Administration’s targeted killing ‘playbook’ as meaningless to civilian victims and their families.

As part of an Al Jazeera interview today, Faisal bin ali Jaber, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed by a CIA drone in 2012, said:

“The President’s executive order and the playbook both talk about targeting and ‘lawfulness’, but my relatives were killed in a US drone strike despite never having done anything wrong. My nephew was a policeman, and my cousin was an imam who preached against Al Qaeda. The Obama Administration has refused to explain why they were killed, or to apologize. This ‘playbook’ doesn’t provide any answers and is meaningless to us.”

“Since my relatives were killed, many more innocents have died in US drone strikes. Despite all the talk of targeting and strikes being a ‘last resort’, the American government still seems to be making these strikes without having any clear idea of who they are killing.

“I thought that the US stood for justice, truth, transparency, and respect for civilian life. I have been deeply shocked by what I’ve experienced at the hands of the US government. What is needed is an end to the strikes, and acknowledgement of the deaths of innocents they have caused.”

Commenting, Reprieve attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who assists drone victims, said: “The Policy Guidance wrestled from the Administration during its final months bears no resemblance to the lived experience of our clients. With no transparency and no system for oversight, the Administration can say whatever it wants about the care it takes in determining who to kill. Faisal bin Ali Jaber’s family knows the truth of the program’s efficacy.”

ENDS

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Most Americans support trial or release from Gitmo: Reprieve comment

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Detainees at Guantanamo Bay (Image T.McCoy/US Navy)

Responding to today’s YouGov poll, which suggested that 52% of Americans want the remaining prisoners at Guantánamo Bay to be either given a trial or released, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Reprieve U.S. attorney for detainees, said:

“Most Americans recognize that denying those in Guantánamo the same right to a fair trial provided those lucky enough to be in the United States flies in the face of justice.

“Guantánamo is an emblem of a dark period for our country. The Obama Administration must urgently take steps to shutter the prison, and charge or release its long-suffering inmates, while there’s still time.”

61 prisoners remain held at Guantánamo after the Administration released 15 cleared men – 12 Yemenis and 3 Afghans – to the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

ENDS

Links

CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO

https://www.aclu.org/feature/close-guantanamo

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Islamic Emirate: UNAMA and Civilian Casualties (Afghanistan)

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Post via Islamic Emirate

The UN representatives in Kabul, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), last month issued a report which states that in the first six months of this year 5166 civilians have suffered casualties. Of these 1601 casualties have been fatal while the remaining 3565 have been injuries. UNAMA also added that this year civilian casualties have increased four-fold compared to the same period last year.

 

The Head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, has said that the involved parties to the conflict have not fulfilled their undertakings for the prevention of civilian lives. Similarly the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Zeid Ra’ad Hassan – called the civilian casualties of the Afghan conflict over the past six months as alarming and shameful.

 

Surprisingly this is the first time that UNAMA has not directly accused the Taliban for around 90% of the civilian casualties. Although it is worth noting they have never accused the American occupiers or their internal allies of directly contributing towards the majority of civilian losses.

 

This report comes at a time when the American’s have being given new mandates significantly increasing their ability to take direct part in the ongoing conflict. The American troops have made full use of their new-found authorities and have made use of all kinds of heavy weaponry in battles with the Taliban.

 

The members of Kabul Parliament have called on foreign troops to abstain from using cruise missiles and other weapons of mass destruction since such weaponry causes widespread geological and human destruction. Members of Parliament – Humayoon Humayoon and Qadir Zazi – say that the circumstances of Afghanistan do not dictate the use of large-scale destructive weaponry and the use of cruise missiles or heavy aerial bombardment causes large scale environmental destruction and plays a significant role in large-scale civilian casualties.

 

They add that since the exile of the Taliban’s government, this is the first time that foreign forces  – in addition to heavy aerial bombardment – have resorted back to the use of cruise missiles. According to them in Nangarhar alone they have used 25 cruise missiles.

 

On the other hand, the officials of Kabul regime repetitively call for more foreign bombardment and attacks against the Taliban. Some time ago the regime’s governor for Helmand – Hayatullah Hayat – stated that the current American-led bombardment is insufficient and called on the Americans to increase their aerial campaign against the Taliban. Yet the American forces, their internal allies and UNAMA consistently label all those killed in aerial bombardment as ‘militants’.

 

The regime’s governor for Helmand – Hayatullah Hayat – has made his appeal for further foreign bombardment at a time when the Taliban is launching coordinated attacks across the province and utilizing mainly light and medium weaponry. UNAMA also generally attributes civilian casualties to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) while in reality these devices are controlled and triggered by remote devices and Taliban take great pains to target only legitimate military targets with these devices.

 

It is simple logic that civilian casualties are mainly caused by large-scale and indiscriminate weaponry which is mostly utilized by the foreign forces and their internal allies. Therefore UNAMA should not simply take the regime’s word that those killed are ‘militant’s. Rather they should rigorously investigate the environmental and human destruction of aerial bombardment and base their reports on these investigations. Otherwise we will never hear the true cost of the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Islamic Emirate: Condolence and reaction of Islamic Emirate regarding martyrdom of noble scholars in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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Post via Islamic Emirate

That several renowned Afghan scholars – Sheikhul Hadith Mawlawi Ghulam Hazrat Sahib, Mawlawi Muhammad Nasim Hanafi Sahib and Qari Saeed Murad Sahib – have been martyred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province over the past several days, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns these savage cowardly assassinations and calls on Pakistani officials to pay serious attention to the security of noble Afghan refugee scholars and bring their killers to justice.

As the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the martyrdom of all three scholars a great loss, it also believes that there are sinister hands behind these assassinations who seek to stoke religious hatred and enmity in our country with such ghastly actions. However they must understand that the esteemed noble scholars of all schools of thought are aware of such plots and will never allow the enemies of Islam to create rifts and enmity between the religious class.

May Allah Almighty accept the martyrdom of all three noble scholars and may He grant their families, friends and associates patience and immense rewards.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

17/11/1437 Hijri Lunar

30/05/1395 Hijri Solar               20/08/2016 Gregorian

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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Islamic Emirate: The United Barbarity of Colluding Partners

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Post via Islamic Emirate

The Unity regime of Kabul continues to target the innocent people of Afghanistan and seek vendetta against them for the ongoing problems plaguing their rotten regime. Each day they bomb the homes of civilians, carry out night raids against them, loot their property, kill their women and children, imprison them and indiscriminately target them.

 

The foreign occupiers and their regime allies continually target, bomb and raid the homes of Afghans. In such encounters the brunt of the damage is bore by ordinary Afghans. In the last few days alone we have witnessed dozens of Afghan civilians become victims to the foreigners’ night raids and indiscriminate bombardments or fall to the mass and aimless bombardment of the regime’s artillery.

 

Last week alone in Paktika’s Khoshamand district – in the village of Minarah – 13 civilians of the same family were butchered as a result of American bombardment. The American planes targeted the house of Dr. Wrekhman and – including him – killed 13 members of his family.

 

Locals told the Afghan Islamic Agency that all those killed in this bombardment were civilians. According to them those killed included women and children. The regime’s local officials in Paktika also confirmed that all killed in this incident were non-combatants.

 

This is not the only tragedy that befell our ordinary civilians during this month. On the first of August regime forces killed Muhammad Shafiq in Maidan Wardak provincial capital. Shafiq was a teacher and had recently moved to the center from Chak district.

 

On the second of August the regime’s forces indiscriminately fired heavy rounds on villages in Kapisa’s Tagab district killing 2 women and injuring many more. Similarly on the fourth of August regime forces fired mortar rounds on villages in Nawa area of Zabul’s Mizana district. This reckless firing caused the death of one child and injuries to two more.

 

On the 7th of August security forces in Badghis province’s Marghab district fired on villages located at 3 kilometers from their base. This unprovoked firing targeted civilian homes in Daikhoji village and took the lives of three civilians as well as causing grave bodily harm to six more.

 

In addition, on the 8th of August troops from Ghormi military base, located Khost’s Speri district carried out raids on two villages (namely Bozi and Tanikhel) and after coming under fire, they deliberately fired towards ordinary villagers killing three and critically injuring six. The villagers were accused of failing to prevent the Taliban from using their village to attack security forces and some were taken prisoners as a deterrent.

 

On August the 13th the regime forces again indiscriminately fired on the Dahman-e-koh village – located in Logar’s Muhammad Agha district. These mortar rounds struck the home of Sayed Jan – a local farmer – killing his child and wife.

 

This practice of indiscriminately targeting civilian homes has become a common pattern in the regime’s military tactics over the past year and a half. The regime appears to target villages and villagers on purpose especially if they are under the control of the Taliban. The regime ostensibly calculated that by targeting and killing civilians they would compel these villagers to either stand up against the Taliban thus joining the regime or else suffer for their passive and neutral stance regarding the ongoing conflict. The villagers who unfortunately have suffered the most over the past 40 years are increasingly getting tired of the injustices perpetrated by the regime forces and compelled to join the fight against Kabul security forces.

 

The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns such cowardly attacks against unarmed civilians and vows to avenge the suffering of these civilians. We call on the regime’s forces to confront us in battle rather than resorting to indiscriminate firing on civilian targets or the deliberate killing of villagers. This cowardly tactic will never deter the freedom fighters of our nation but would rather strengthen our resolve to cleanse our country from this treacherous and undisciplined mob that has personally being trained and funded by the enemies of Afghanistan.

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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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