Kabul’s American University reopens after deadly attack | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Kabul’s American University reopens after deadly attack

Hundreds of students returned on Tuesday to the elite American University in Kabul seven months after militants stormed the campus -- including those wounded in the bloody assault that killed 16 people.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2017 15:28 IST
Female students of American University of Afghanistan hug each other as they arrive for new orientation sessions at a American University in Kabul, Afghanistan March 27, 2017.
Female students of American University of Afghanistan hug each other as they arrive for new orientation sessions at a American University in Kabul, Afghanistan March 27, 2017.(REUTERS Photo)

Hundreds of students returned on Tuesday to the elite American University in Kabul seven months after militants stormed the campus -- including those wounded in the bloody assault that killed 16 people.

Security has been increased at the campus in the Afghan capital after the attack last August, in which students trapped during the nearly 10-hour raid sent anguished pleas for help on social media.

“I don’t think anything un-Islamic or against any group is taught here,” said Rahmatullah, a returning student who was one of those wounded in the attack.

“It is just a centre to promote knowledge and that is going to succeed,” he said.

The attack was one of the first major militant assaults on a prominent university in Afghanistan.

The university, which opened in 2006 and has more than 1,700 students, was long seen as a high-profile target for militants, partly because it attracts foreign faculty members.

The attack has cast a pall over the education sector, seen as a rare symbol of hope for the young at a time of rising insecurity.

“All our classes will resume today. We have worked on boosting the security of the university for the past seven months,” Zubaida Akbar, the university’s director of communication, told AFP.

President Ashraf Ghani has given special permission for a private foreign security company to fortify the campus with more concrete blast walls and bulletproof gates.

Private security companies were banned from operating independently in Afghanistan in 2010 in an attempt to control illegal weapons in the war-torn country, and must register with the government.

The raid began with a suicide bombing at the campus gates which paved the way for two gunmen to enter to compound at dusk, when it is usually packed with students.

No group claimed responsibility, but it occurred during a Taliban summer offensive against the Western-backed government.

About two weeks before the attack, two foreign professors of the university were seized from their vehicle and hauled them away at gunpoint.

Their whereabouts are still unknown and no group so far has publicly claimed responsibility for the abductions, the latest in a series of kidnappings of foreigners.