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: October 04, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Al-Biruni University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 4, 2022, Taliban forces arrested 40 students during a protest at Al-Biruni University in response to the bombing of an educational facility.

On September 30, 2022, a suicide bomber carried out an attack on Kaaj Education Center, a facility in a minority Hazara neighborhood within Kabul (the Hazara have historically faced widespread persecution in Afghanistan). The attack left 53 dead and 110 injured (see report). Most of the victims were young women; many were Hazara. The incident triggered a series of protests at campuses in the region, in which students demanded an end to persecution of members of the Hazara minority. At Al-Biruni University, students chanted slogans calling for unity; police reportedly arrested 40 of the protesters in response.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and academic freedom – conduct which is protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a party. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, the arrest of students undermines academic freedom, university autonomy, and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)