SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: June 04, 2018

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Polytechnic University of Kabul

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 4, 2018, a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at the Polytechnic University of Kabul, targeting a meeting of religious scholars, killing at least 14 people, and injuring at least 20.

More than 2,000 Islamic scholars, members of a group known as the Ulema Council, had convened a meeting on the Polytechnic University campus during Ramadan to discuss the Afghan war and attacks by the Taliban and the Islamic State. On the morning of June 4, the group had issued a fatwa, or religious edict, stating that the insurgency by those extremists groups had no religious basis. In addition, the group declared that suicide bombings were forbidden by Islam. Around 11:30 a.m., the bomber detonated an explosive device outside the tent where the Ulema Council had met. Reports indicate that at least 14 people were killed and at least 20 injured.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about targeted, violent, extremist attacks on campus, and sends condolences to the victims’ families and to the Polytechnic University community. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and institutional autonomy. State officials have a responsibility to ensure the security of higher education communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators accountable.