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: December 22, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Unspecified Institution(s)

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 22, 2022, Taliban security forces used force and detained demonstrators during a peaceful protest by students and activists responding to the Taliban’s recent ban on women enrolling in higher education (see report).

Dozens gathered in Kabul to march and protest the ban, but were quickly intercepted by Taliban forces once they reached Kabul University. Taliban forces reportedly beat them and detained at least five women and two men who participated in the protest, as well as two journalists covering it.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by state security forces using force against and detaining students and others peacefully exercising the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly—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 or punishing the nonviolent exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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