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 24, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Mirwais Neeka University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 24, 2022, Taliban forces used force against male students after they boycotted final semester exams at Mirwais Neeka University (MNU) in protest of the Taliban’s recent order to ban women from higher education.

On December 20, the Taliban banned women from enrolling in and attending higher education institutions (see report). The ban sparked public condemnation and protests across the country.

On December 24, after MNU male students refused to take the final semester exams and left the classrooms, Taliban forces shot into the air and beat several students.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force in apparent retaliation to the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of expression—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 retaliating against the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. 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)