Gunmen on Monday attacked Kabul University in Afghanistan, leaving at least 22 dead and 22 injured, AP reported. The incident took place when the university was hosting a book fair at the campus, which was attended by a number of dignitaries, including the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan.
Most of the casualties were students and the toll is likely to increase with some of those injured said to be in critical condition.
The country’s interior ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said the attackers were killed in the ensuing battle with security forces. “Three attackers were involved,” Arian told AFP. “One of them blew up his explosives at the beginning, two were brought down by the security forces.”
Meanwhile, a witness told Reuters that the gunmen were targeting students and fired on them as they fled from the scene. “They were shooting at every student they saw,” Fathullah Moradi told Reuters.
Ahmad Samim, a student, said the attack happened at the university’s eastern side where its law and journalism faculty teach.
The Taliban issued a statement denying responsibility for the attack.
Afghanistan has seen a rise in violent attacks even as the government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the “cowardly attack” and expressed his support for “Afghanistan’s brave struggle against terrorism”.