American University in Kabul under attack: Gunmen storm campus packed with students as explosions are heard and victims tweet from inside 'I'm wounded and girls cry, please help us'
- 'Complex' raid launched on campus of American University in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul
- Ambulances seen ferrying away the wounded from the assault on the school which is in a western suburb
- University president, Dr. Mark English confirmed an attack has occurred - security forces have responded
- The university was founded ten-years ago and currently has 1,100 students enrolled
- College is styled on the American liberal arts model - 40-percent of students are women
The American University of Afghanistan in the capital Kabul is under attack by militants according to witnesses, with gunfire and explosions heard coming from inside the campus.
A huge plume of smoke was seen rising above the campus on Wednesday night, where several American professors are inside university buildings, along with hundreds of Afghan students.
Police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said security forces have rushed to respond to the attack, while ambulances are ferrying the injured away. Many inside managed to escape the onslaught of gunfire through emergency exits.
Teachers and students still inside the university are sheltering in place while security forces engage in a furious gun battle with militants inside, with many taking to Twitter to plead for help.
According to one student, several of his classmate have been killed and wounded, while a number of professors and renowned Associated Press photographer, Massoud Hossaini remain trapped while fighting continues.
'My class was over and I was planning to leave, then suddenly I heard gunshots,' said Ahmad Mukhtar, a student at the university.
'I tried to find shelter, but a blast took place and I ran towards a wall and managed to escape by climbing the wall and injured my leg,' he told the LA Times.
'Several students have been killed and injured; many students and professors are stuck,' said another student according to the LA Times.
'Some managed to escape, but we are still here. Please help us.'
Witnesses say that multiple attackers have descended on the university campus and detonated an explosion at the gate to gain entry to the heavily fortified facility.
The Pullitzer-winning Associated Press photographer Massoud Hossaini is inside the university complex and tweeted that he is trapped along with other students.
Hauntingly, he added that 'this maybe my last tweets'.
The president of the university Dr. Mark English confirmed that the campus was under attack, saying 'We are trying to assess the situation.'
'Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions,' another official said. 'They are inside the compound and there are foreign professors along with hundreds of students.'
Ahmad Shaheer, a student at the university, told Reuters by telephone that he was trapped inside the university.
'We are stuck inside our classroom and there are bursts of gunfire,' he said.
Another student told NBC News that he had only just finished his class and was walking with friends when gunfire erupted and a 'massive explosion; threw them to the ground.
'We got up, and in the midst of dust ... kept running to the back of the building and climbed the walls and jumped down on the street,' said the student.
'I am in a taxi and on my way to hospital.'
According to Afghan journalist Bilal Sawary, the Kabul's CDR rapid reaction force told him that they are dealing with a 'complex' attack and that special forces are 'en-route'.
'We have been notified of a complex attack on the American University on Darul-Aman Road,' the commander of Kabul police's quick reaction force told NBC News, adding, 'We still don't know the exact nature of the attack.'
Two professors, an American and an Australian were abducted from the university - where 40 percent of students are women - on August 8th, when five gunmen dressed in Afghan military uniforms kidnapped them at gunpoint from their SUV.