President quits Afghan university after terror attack

Former US deputy assistant secretary of defence now to lead American University of Afghanistan

October 4, 2016
Afghanistan map

The president of the American University of Afghanistan has resigned suddenly, weeks after a terrorist attack that left at least 13 people dead.

The university said that Mark English stepped down “for personal reasons” on 24 September, just days after the arrival in the country of David Sedney, who has now been appointed as acting president.

Mr Sedney, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defence for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Cental Asia, had been sent to Kabul by the university’s board to oversee improvements in security and to support those affected by August’s attack.

The institution has been closed since gunmen and a suicide car bomber attacked the campus on 24 August in a prolonged assault that left at least 13 dead, including an academic and seven students.

The university was already reeling from the kidnapping of two academics, an American and an Australian, by gunmen who were disguised as members of the Afghan security forces. This incident occurred on 7 August.

Attempts by security forces to free the pair, named as Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, have been unsuccessful, according to reports.

Mr Sedney has also served as deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Kabul and in the White House as director for Afghanistan.

Michael Holmes, the university’s vice-president of operations, said that trustees were confident that Mr Sedney’s “vast experience and strong commitment to the mission of the university will guide us successfully through challenges we face”.

“He is committed, as we all are, to ensuring that we are worthy of the sacrifices that our killed and injured students and colleagues made,” Mr Holmes said.

Abul Huda Farouki, chair of the university’s trustees, said that the institution would come back “safer and stronger and better than ever before”.

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