American University attack: An eyewitness account from Kabul | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 25.08.2016
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American University attack: An eyewitness account from Kabul

In a DW interview, award winning Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini gives a firsthand account of the militant attack on Kabul's American University. He said the death toll could be higher than the initial count.

At least 13 people have been killed and 50 others injured in a militant attack on Kabul's American University. Afghan reports say a hundred students were trapped inside classrooms amid shootings and an explosion on Wednesday, August 24.

The attack on the university ended on Thursday, nearly 10 hours after militants stormed the complex. At least seven students died in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although suspicion is likely to fall on the Taliban. The group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid only told the media, however, that they were "investigating."

Massoud Hossaini is an award winning Afghan photographer who witnessed the Wednesday attack firsthand. In an interview with DW, he gave an eyewitness account.

Massoud Hossaini

Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini

DW: What could you tell us about the attack?

Massoud Hossaini: Right after the evening prayer, when the students were returning to their classrooms, we heard a loud explosion. Everyone panicked and started to run. I stopped them and told everyone to lie on the ground.

The blast had hit the wall between the university campus and the neighboring Cure Hospital. When I looked through our classroom window, I saw an armed man, who shot at me. Fortunately, I escaped unhurt.

Did you try to contact the police officials or the media?

Yes, I called the district police chief and Sediq Sediqi, the spokesman for the interior ministry, and informed them about the situation. They told me that help was on the way and that I should stay put. The operation against the militants lasted until five in the morning.

How did you get help?

We saw two policemen who approached us and guided us out. The ambulance arrived after almost 40 minutes. Until then, the security forces had not cleared the campus.

You said you saw one of the attackers. What can you tell us about him?

After the explosion, I rushed to the place of attack. There I saw an attacker who was wearing a pair of jeans and a red shirt. He tried to shoot at me, but he was slow as he was carrying heavy ammunition.

What information do you have about the casualties?

The government says that 13 people were killed in the attack. I think the death toll could be much higher because there were about 700 students inside the campus.

Massoud Hossaini is an award wining Afghan photographer. Hossaini works for The Associated Press (AP) news agency and covers the war in Afghanistan. Hossaini's photographs have been exhibited in Berlin twice.

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