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: March 28, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Badakhshan University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 28, 2023, Taliban intelligence agents arrested Sakhidad Sangin, a professor at Badakhshan University, in apparent connection to his opposition to the Taliban’s educational policies concerning women and girls.

Taliban intelligence agents reportedly arrested Sangin, a professor of English literature, while he was leaving the university campus. Authorities have not publicly disclosed the reason for the arrest; however, sources familiar with the matter suggested that it was tied to his opposition to the Taliban’s ban on women’s and girls’ education.

On April 13, it was reported that Sangin was released from detention.

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Taliban forces have arrested a number of academics, activists, and journalists, including professor, writer, and researcher Zakaria Osuli (see report), journalism professor Ismail Mashal (see report), professor and political analyst Sayed Baqir Mohsini (see report), and Kabul University lecturer and political commentator Faizullah Jalal (see report).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary arrest of a scholar, apparently for exercising his 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 must respect nonviolent expressive conduct and refrain from actions intended to punish, restrict, or deter such conduct. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.