American, Australian teachers kidnapped near American University of Afghanistan

Posted at 6:31 AM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 06:31:48-04

The American University of Afghanistan has temporarily suspended campus operations after two of its teachers were kidnapped at gunpoint Sunday, according to a statement released by the school.

“We are devastated by the news and will remain vigilant to ensure the safety and security of all university personnel and students,” said Mark English, the president of the university.

“Everything possible is being done to ensure their immediate and safe return,” the statement said.

The lecturers who were kidnapped are American and Australian, the US and Australian embassies confirmed.

It’s expected that the campus will resume operations on Wednesday, the statement said.

The school said on its Facebook page Monday that its Kabul campuses will remain closed Monday and Tuesday, but did not explain why at that point. Regional centers were operating as normal, the Facebook page said.

On its Twitter account, the school describes itself as “Afghanistan’s only private, independent and not-for-profit university.”

Officials at the university could not be immediately be reached for comment.


The US Embassy in Kabul confirmed that an American citizen had been kidnapped near the university.

Embassy security officials are working with Afghan law enforcement and the school to assist in the investigation into the kidnapping, embassy spokeswoman Susan C. Doman said.

A spokesperson at the Australian Embassy in Afghanistan has confirmed “the apparent kidnapping of an Australian in Kabul.”

“We continue to advise Australians not to travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation, including the serious threat of kidnapping,” the spokesperson said.

Both the US and the Australian officials said they can’t give more precise details because of “privacy” concerns.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Attack last week injured tourists

The incident comes amid a violent spring and summer in the central Asian country.

Six tourists were injured in western Afghanistan Thursday when a rocket struck the vans they were traveling in. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, which occurred in Herat province.

And a rash of kidnappings and Taliban bombings have heightened security fears in Kabul. US and other diplomats have been barred from traveling by road the short distance from the city’s international airport to their diplomatic missions. Instead, they’ve been ferried by helicopter.

Many countries, including the US and UK, have longstanding travel advisories warning against all but essential travel to Afghanistan due to the security situation throughout the country.