As network of Chinese-funded institutes at American universities expands, some professors see opportunities. Others worry about academic freedom and whether centers promote "culturetainment," not scholarship.
The American University of Afghanistan issued a statement early Friday morning resolving that the university will reopen after a 10-hour overnight attack on the campus starting Wednesday that killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens more.
"The American University of Afghanistan has temporarily suspended operations in the wake of the despicable terrorist attack on the University," the statement says. "However, the university has already started the process to repair the damage caused by the attack so that the campus can reopen. Security has always been of the utmost importance to the university and we will be working with the Afghan government and others to improve security."
The university said it has no date set at this point for resuming operations, but that it will update its website with details.
"Rumors that the university will close are completely untrue," the statement continues. "AUAF is dedicated to its educational mission in service to Afghanistan and has no intention of giving into terror. As our faculty member Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak, who was killed in this attack, had said, those who care about the future of Afghanistan cannot back down to insurgents and criminals who threaten a future of possibility. Our firm resolve is to move forward."
The attack on the American-style university in Kabul came two and a half weeks after two of the institution’s foreign faculty members were kidnapped at gunpoint.
Facing growing public outrage over its firing of an instructor for absenteeism when her absences were due to cancer treatment, China's Lanzhou Jiaotong University issued a statement that said it was “deeply sorry” and agreed to pay the instructor back wages, The New York Times reported. Anger over the case has only grown, however, because the instructor -- Liu Lingli -- died before the apology was issued.
The American University of Afghanistan in Kabul is reportedly under attack. Reuters quoted an Afghan interior ministry official who said that several gunmen attacked the university and that there are reports of gunfire and explosions.
“They are inside the compound and there are foreign professors along with hundreds of students,” the official said.
A student told Reuters by telephone that he was trapped inside the university.
ABC News reported on Twitter that at least two people were killed and five injured in the attack. Other unconfirmed reports on social media suggest higher numbers of casualties. The ABC report said that shooting had stopped.
A photographer for the Associated Press was in a classroom at the university when the attack took place.
Massoud Hossaini, the photographer, was quoted by AP as saying he was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion. “I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass,” Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.
He said the students then barricaded themselves in the classroom before most of them later escaped.
Two foreign professors at the university were kidnapped earlier this month. The American University of Afghanistan is heavily funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and offers English-language, Western-style education -- including coeducation -- to Afghan students.
Supporters of the university -- and some at the university -- took to social media to express their dismay about Wednesday’s attack.
After #AUAF all other universities in country will be surrounded with Walls, layers of security gates … Please don’t do that , let it be free