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 30, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Other

Institution(s):Badakhshan University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 30, 2022, Taliban personnel prevented female students from entering Badakshan University (BAU) for not wearing burqas. Shortly thereafter, as more female students gathered on campus to protest the decision, Taliban personnel violently attacked them.

On May 7, 2022 the Taliban issued a decree requiring all women to only show their eyes in public and recommending that women wear a burqa. On May 18, Taliban forces prevented female students from entering Kabul Polytechnic University for wearing colorful hijabs (see report).

On October 30, female students gathered in front of the main entrance to BAU, chanted slogans, including “education is our right” and “woman, life, freedom,” and banged on the university doors. In video footage posted on Twitter, Taliban personnel are shown using whips against the students.

The BAU president, Naqibullah Ghazizadeh, confirmed the Taliban were responsible for the attack against the students. Taliban officials reportedly denied responsibility for the attack.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the denial of female students’ right to higher education and the use of force in an apparent effort to restrict a nonviolent student protest—conduct that is expressly 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. State authorities have a responsibility to respect and refrain from restricting the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and education, including by refraining from discriminating on grounds relating to gender, race, or religion, and should respect universities’ institutional autonomy. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

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