Afghans gathered in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday to protest and mourn the victims of the Kabul University attack, which left 35 students dead and 22 wounded.
The attack in the Afghan capital happened on the 2nd of November, shortly before the arrival of government officials for an Iranian book fair hosted by the University.
The gunmen stormed Kabul University before engaging in a six hour long battle with security forces.
Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior ministry, said the attack finally came to an end when the three gunmen were killed.
The Taliban denied involvement and condemned the attack shortly after it began. A few hours later, a regional Islamic State group announced a message on the Telegram app saying it had targeted “the graduation of judges and investigators working for the apostate Afghan government.”
This wasn’t the first attack on an educational centre. Last month, IS attacked a tuition centre in Kabul that left 24 people dead. The group also claimed responsibility for an attack in 2018 at the front of Kabul University in which dozens were killed.
President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement at the presidential palace where he said authorities would “take revenge for this senseless attack.”
On Wednesday, Afghans united and stood in solidarity with the students who lost their lives in the horrific act. People also raised their voices and described the anger and pain they were feeling, not only from this attack but for all the conflict that has occurred in Afghanistan over the past four decades.
The vigil and protest was organised by ACAA (Afghanistan and Central Asia Association), an organisation dedicated to helping refugees. The organisation has prospered greatly and have won multiple awards.
Where is #HumanRights in #Afghanistan?
Join us now at Trafalgar Square in London to raise our voices against injustice and grave human rights violations in Afg.#KabulUniversityAttack #MothersKilledwithBabies@bbcpersian @bbcafghanistan @BBCLondonNews @bbcpashto pic.twitter.com/7Qo8W15nFX
— Afghanistan & Central Asian Association (@A_CAA) November 4, 2020
Samira Helemi, one of the organisers, said: “Demonstrations are the inalienable right of a human being who can make positive use of the injustice done to himself or others in society. The only thing I could do for my compatriots here is to make their voices heard in the international community.
Although the number of people who took part in the demonstration was important, more importantly, their common goal was to raise their voices with slogans, both men and women.”
Volunteers and organisers from ACAA, overall, said they were “happy with the turnout and proud of all the Afghans who came and stood together to show their support.”
Words, reporting, video: Dina Nazari | subbing: Grace Staley