Gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by dignitaries, sparking an hours-long gun battle and leaving at least 19 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country's largest school, per the AP. No details on the victims, including whether any students were killed, were immediately available. At least three attackers staged the assault and all were killed in the ensuing firefight, says a university spokesperson. The Taliban issued a statement denying responsibility. The attack came as the insurgents are continuing peace talks with the US-backed government. Those negotiations, taking place in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, aim to help the US finally withdraw from America's longest war, though daily bloodshed continues and an Islamic State affiliate launches its own attacks on Shiites in the country.
Five hours into the fighting, sporadic grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire echoed down the empty streets surrounding the university's fenced compound. Earlier, students were seen fleeing from the site. Ahmad Samim, a university student, told journalists he saw militants armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles firing at the school, the country's oldest with some 17,000 students. He said the attack happened at the university's eastern side where its law and journalism faculty teach. Afghan media reported a book exhibition was being held at the university and attended by a number of dignitaries at the time of the shooting. Iranian Ambassador Bahador Aminian was scheduled to be there. Iranian diplomats have been targeted previously by attacks in the country and nearly sparked a war between the two countries.
(Read more Afghanistan