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: May 01, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Islamic University of Kabul

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 1, 2021, it was reported that unidentified gunmen shot and killed Mahmoud al-Rahman, a professor at the Islamic University in Kabul.

Few details regarding the killing were made available. Sources reported that the gunmen killed al-Rahman in the early morning hours and fled the scene.

Sources do not indicate that any group publicly took responsibility for the killing.

The killing of al-Rahman coincided with growing insecurity in the country, as the United States prepared to withdraw troops and Taliban forces began expanding their presence.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about a targeted, violent attack on a scholar and offers condolences to the victim’s family, 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.