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: March 23, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Paktia University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 23, 2020, an explosive device was detonated outside the gates of Paktia University, in Eastern Afghanistan, killing a police officer and injuring a civilian.

Few details about the attack have been announced. Available sources indicate that the device was affixed to a motorcycle when it was detonated at approximately 12:00 PM. It is unclear whether an assailant was killed or injured as a result of the attack or whether the assailant was at the scene at the time of detonation. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of this report.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned by a violent, apparently targeted attack on a university, and offers its condolences to the victims and their families. State authorities have a duty to take available measures to prevent such attacks and to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable.. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on higher education institutions undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.