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22 Dead in Brutal Islamist Attack on Afghan University

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Afghanistan declared a national day of mourning on Tuesday to honor the 22 people killed in a horrific attack a day earlier on Kabul University, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Most of those killed were students and another 27 people were injured, some of them critically.

Monday’s hours-long assault was the second attack on an educational institution in the Afghan capital in as many weeks amid a rise in violence and chaos across Afghanistan, even as Taliban insurgents and government negotiators hold peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar.

The Islamic State affiliate also claimed the earlier attack on Oct. 24 that killed 24 students at an education center.

The attack occurred in a mostly Shiite neighborhood.

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The IS affiliate has declared war on the country’s minority Shiites and has claimed a number of vicious attacks since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014.

Outside Kabul University on Tuesday a small group of protesters gathered demanding a ceasefire and urging the government to withdraw from the peace talks until a permanent end to hostilities is declared.

President Ashraf Ghani warned that the perpetrators would be pursued.

“We will not remain silent. We will take the revenge,” he said in a video message on Tuesday.

Do you think Afghanistan will be able to eliminate the Islamic State group?

“Our brave forces are after you everywhere and they will eliminate you.”

The brutal assault on the university was condemned by the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Torek Farhadi, a political commentator in Kabul and former government adviser, called for a “transparent investigation” into security in the Afghan capital to determine how heavily armed gunmen gained access to the country’s largest educational institution.

The Islamic State is not part of the peace talks and despite their claims of responsibility, the government has blamed the Taliban for the attacks.

The government’s lead negotiator in peace talks, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, called for an immediate ceasefire announcement from the Taliban.

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The Taliban, which condemned the attack on the university and denied involvement within hours of its start, have refused to declare a ceasefire, saying it would be part of the negotiations.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad condemned the attack but also warned that it is “NOT an opportunity for the government and the Taliban to score points against each other. There is a common enemy here.”


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