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: November 09, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Tabesh University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 9, 2020, an explosive was detonated near the entrance gate of Tabesh University, killing one student and injuring several others.

According to reports, the main target of the attack was a law student in the university’s political science faculty by the name of Gheyas, a commander in the Islamist political party known as Hezb-e-Islami. Gheyas was killed in the attack, while the reported number of students injured ranged from five to nine. As of this report, no group has reportedly taken responsibility for the attack.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about a targeted, violent, extremist attack on a higher education institution and sends condolences to the victims’ families and to the Tabesh University community. In addition to the terrible loss of life and injuries, such attacks target the core values of higher education, including academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, institutional autonomy, and social responsibility. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard these values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including a responsibility to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. Members of society similarly have a responsibility to help safeguard the higher education space, especially following incidents of such gross violence, by pressing demands to state authorities for greater protection and accountability, and by contributing to efforts to understand and reinforce principles of autonomy and academic freedom.