Twelve people were killed and others wounded in an attack on a university in Kabul, the Afghan capital, a spokesman for the Chief of Kabul Police tells CNN.
Two gunmen who were still on the site were killed Thursday morning in a police operation.
Seven students, three policemen and two security guards were killed in the attack on the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul campus, Basir Mujahid, the spokesman said. Thirty students were injured in the attack, which no group has yet claimed responsibility for.
Around 750 students were on campus at the time, he added.
The gunmen detonated explosives and fired guns, witnesses said, causing some students and faculty to flee. Others hid inside buildings, a senior State Department official told said
The first blast occurred at 7:50 p.m., when students were gathering and eating together.
Two professors, an American and an Australian, were abducted from the same university earlier this month. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Despite its name, few Americans study at the school, a senior US State Department official said “But a number of Americans serve on the faculty and may have been trapped inside buildings”.
The school is regarded as a symbol of cooperation between Afghanistan and the United States.
Ahmad Samin said he was teaching a chemistry class Wednesday evening when the assailants struck.
The attackers opened fire and detonated explosives on the campus. Quickly, the lights went out in Samin’s classroom.
“It was very dark, (and) everyone was running. Everyone started screaming,” said Samin, who is a US citizen. “(It) was the scariest moment in my life. I was just thinking about my son and daughter who are in (the United States).”
Amid black smoke, he took off running with the students and other faculty, and “the smoke entered my mouth” as he fled, he said.
A student, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for his safety, said he was attending a lecture class when he heard a “very enormous and harsh sound” an explosion roughly 50 meters from his classroom.
“Everyone looked around the room looking for an escape,” he said. “We have an emergency exit area in the corner of the campus. It’s like a gate that opens when people need to get out of campus. Everyone was running out of there.”
An injured Afghan man lays on a stretcher in an ambulance after an attack on the university.
He heard gunfire as they ran, then a second explosion. Both explosions came from the school’s entrance, he said.
“People were screaming for help. Everyone was screaming,” he said.
He saw several people injured some from glass, others by bullets. A guard had injuries that appeared to be a result of one of the explosions, he said.
The student said he had heard from friends trapped in three buildings.
Bilal Sawary, a journalist in Kabul, said he’d heard from several people on campus.
“One of my family members who was there told me the attackers had maps, they were drinking Red Bulls, clearly aiming to stay as long as they could and some of them were tossing hand grenades,” he said.
A rash of kidnappings and Taliban bombings have heightened security fears in Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Many countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, have longstanding travel advisories against all but essential travel to Afghanistan because of the security situation.
“We are closely watching the situation at the American University in Kabul,” a U.S. defense official told CNN.
“A small number of advisers from the Resolute Support Mission is currently assisting Afghan forces as they respond. These advisers are not in a combat role; they are advising their Afghan counterparts.”