Rachel Maguire
Rachel Maguire
Author
3 min of reading
  • The gun battle left at least 19 dead and 22 wounded at the country's largest school.
  • Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian also said there were three attackers involved in the assault.
  • Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian and cultural attaché Mojtaba Noroozi were scheduled to open the fair.

Afghanistan (SK) — Gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan. The gun battle left at least 19 dead and 22 wounded at the country's largest school. Afghan media have reported that there was a book exhibition at the university, attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting.

As the sun slowly set over the Afghan capital, there were few other details. Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian also said there were three attackers involved in the assault. Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists he saw those. They were armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school.

He said the attack happened at the university's east side, where law and journalism teachers teach. Although Afghan officials declined to discuss the bookfair, Iran's semiofficial ISNA (Iranian Students' News Agency) reported on Sunday that Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian and cultural attaché Mojtaba Noroozi were scheduled to open the fair. Iranian state television reported the attack occurred, but offered no information on its officials.

Iranian diplomats have also been targeted and nearly sparked a war between the two countries. In 1998, Iran held the Taliban responsible for the deaths of nine Iranian diplomats who were working in Iran's consulate in northern Afghanistan. No group immediately took responsibility for the ongoing attack but the Taliban issued a statement saying they were not involved.

Last month, the Islamic State group sent a suicide bomber into an education center in the capital's mainly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, killing 24 students and injuring more than 100. The Islamic State group in Afghanistan has declared war on Afghanistan's minority Shiite Muslims and have staged dozens of attacks since emerging in 2014. Last year, a bomb outside of the gates of Kabul University killed eight people. In 2016, 13 people were murdered by gunmen who attacked the American University in Kabul. The Taliban and a government-appointed negotiation team are discussing a peace agreement to end more than four decades of war in the country. A U.S.-Taliban deal in February set the stage for peace talks, currently underway in Doha, in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar. The talks aim to help the U.S. eventually leave America's longest war. Meanwhile, on Monday, a vehicle hit a roadside mine in the country's southern Helmand province killing at least seven civilians, province spokesman Omer Zwak said.

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