AT LEAST 19 people were killed after gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan.
The hours-long gun battle also left at least 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.
Tariq Arian, a ministry’s spokesman, said there were three attackers involved in the assault, all of whom were killed in the ensuing firefight.
As the sun slowly set over the Afghan capital, there were few other details though the Taliban issued a statement denying they took part in the assault.
The attack came as the insurgents are continuing peace talks with the U.S.-backed government. Those negotiations, taking place in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, aim to help the U.S. finally withdraw from America’s longest war, though daily bloodshed continues and an Islamic State affiliate launches its own attacks on Shiites in the country.
Five hours into the fighting, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university’s fenced compound. Afghan troops stood guard. Earlier, students were seen fleeing for their lives from the site.
“Unfortunately, there are casualties,” Arian said as the assault unfolded, without elaborating.