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: February 18, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Kabul University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 18, 2021, a Kabul University lecturer was killed in an apparently targeted car bombing.

According to police officials, Mubasher Muslimyar, a lecturer of Islamic law, was killed alongside one other person when an improvised explosive device attached to his car went off near Kabul University. Reports of the second victim’s identity are conflicting, with some indicating it was another university lecturer and others, including a press statement by the country’s president, indicating it was a student. Kabul University’s statement about the attack only confirmed the death of Muslimyar. The bombing comes during a period of increased targeted attacks in the country. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings.

The Associated Press reported that, in 2019, Mulsimyar was briefly arrested on allegations of spreading Islamic State propaganda to students, however no charges were ever filed against him.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about a targeted, violent attack on a scholar and offers condolences to the victims’ families, friends, and colleagues. In addition to the terrible loss of life, such attacks target higher education’s core values, including academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, and social responsibility. State authorities are responsible for safeguarding 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.