University attack tears dreamapart
Many of the wounded people are still getting counseling to help them deal with the trauma
Breshna Mosazai remembers the day of the deadly attack two months ago on the AmericanUniversity in Kabul. She remembers lying still on the corridor floor and playing dead, pushing the agony of the gunshot wounds out of her mind as heavily armed gunmen stalked around the campus, looking for people to kill.
That day changed her life forever and forced the 26-year-old Afghan law student to put her dreams of a future and a career on hold.
The Aug 24 rampage went on for what seemed like an eternity as the attackers shot at students with automatic rifles and fired rocket-propelled grenades into classrooms. By the time it was over, 13 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded. No group has since claimed responsibility for the attack, fueling speculation that Afghanistan’s emerging Islamic State affiliate was behind it.
Mosazai was rescued six hours into the 10-hour siege at the sprawling campus in Kabul’s western outskirts. With three bullets in her left leg and foot, she was lucky — the dead included seven students, one teacher, three police officers and two security guards, according to the InteriorMinistry, as well as all of the attackers.
Nowathomein a wheelchair, Mosazai leans forward over the massive pin holding her shattered left leg together, and points to her bandaged foot.
“The top of this one is gone,” she says of the foot, which is missing the big toe and most of the next two toes. There’s a pin in there as well, holding the foot together. Though her doctor says she must walk to strengthen the leg as it heals, shecan’t— her right leg is withered from polio contracted as a childandcan’t hold her weight.
The university — established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the US system — has been a beacon of all that Afghanistan wanted to be after the Taliban were overthrown in 2001: a nation that offered its citizens freedom, hope and progress.
But the attack tore that dream apart. Mosazai says many of her classmates now want to leave the country and that she, too, has lost hope.
“Whenmy brothers and sister go out, I am scared and pray they come back home safe,” she says. “This time I could walk ... but if this happens again, next time I won’t be able to even move.”
The August attack left unanswered many questions as to why security failed so dismally and why militants are still able to stage large-scale attacks, including in theAfghancapital.
The assault began around 7 pm when a car packed with explosives rammed a low wall on the campus’ northwestern flank, blowing it up to make roomforgunmento storm in as night classes were getting underway and daytime studentswereleaving. Thecampus was crowded, targets were abundant.
Many of the wounded are still getting counseling to help themdeal with the trauma. The university president, Mark English, resigned soon after the attack. Classes are not expected to resume before January and the students are still not allowed back on the campus.
Breshna Mosazai received an inview with the Associated Press at her home in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Oct 7.