Discrimination and Suppression Against Hazara Students at Kabul University, Taliban Lists 100 Girls for Expulsion

The Ministry of Higher Education under the Taliban administration continues to expel female students from the dormitory of Kabul University, most of whom are Hazaras. It is supposed to expel more than 100 students from this dormitory and prevent them from continuing their studies. These girls are going to be expelled from the dormitory and also from Kabul University, because of their “Intention to participate in the protest march” against the suicide attack that took place in the Kaaj Educational Training Center, and what has been called the Hazara Genocide. Most of these female students had faced food poisoning before starting this march and could not raise their voices. According to sources, so far 60 female students have been expelled from the dormitory and some from Kabul University, and the number of these expelled students is expected to reach 100 in total soon.

Talking to the Hasht-e Subh Daily, the sources confirm that the Taliban expel less than 10 female students from the dormitory of Kabul University every day and have warned them that they should not share the details of their expulsion with the media. These students have also been warned of life threats if they talk to the media about this issue.

However, a source who does not want to be mentioned in this report due to the fear of the Taliban, speaking to the Hasht-e Subh Daily, says that the officials of the dormitory of Kabul University told them: “We have given you one more day, vacate the dormitory immediately. If you don’t do it, and you raise your voice in the dormitory or we find out that you have talked among yourselves of this issue, next time, we will expel you from the university.” This source, quoting officials of the dormitory of Kabul University, adds: “We have spies from every ethnicity in every corridor of this dorm, they report to us what you are doing. If we find out that you raised your voice this time, you will be expelled from the university.”

Meanwhile, another source told the Hasht-e Subh Daily: “They didn’t specifically tell us that you have committed this act, and that’s why you’re being expelled. We found out from their conversations when they brought up the issue of food poisoning.” According to her, one of the officials of the Taliban at Kabul University said the following in connection with the food poisoning of the girls: “You had problems in your stomachs, that’s why you must have been poisoned. The emirate does not do this, doing it is Haraam [forbidden]. You are making it a big deal, and putting it in the media. This is your mistake. We are serving you, we have prepared you an accommodation place and we’re preparing your meals.”

Additionally, one of the expelled students told the Hasht-e Subh Daily: “They called us to the dormitory administration on Thursday, read our names, and said that you have been expelled from the dormitory. We asked the management of the dormitory the reason for it, and she said that his excellency the deputy has directly called me, he didn’t tell me the reason, he just read your names from the phone. We said, How does the deputy know where we are from? And how he knows, which room we are in? The director of the dormitory said I don’t know anything.”

The expelled students state that after hearing the news of their expulsion from the dormitory, they went to one of the officials of Kabul University to inquire about the reason for their expulsion. According to them, this Taliban official explained to them at Kabul University: “Do not ask the reason. First, you were expelled from both the university and the dormitory. You are in the fourth year of your studies, your four years of education would be wasted if we did so. That is why we have mercy on you [for just expelling you from the dormitory]. Those who were below grade four were expelled from the university too. Even now, if you look for a reason, we will expel you from the university too.” One of the expelled students adds: “The Taliban official warned, Do not raise your voice, otherwise, we will also expel you from the university.”

Another expelled student, afraid of her fateless situation and interrogation by the Taliban, says: “When we were expelled from the university dormitory, it was tough. We spent two or three days looking for a place to stay. We could neither get a room nor a dormitory. Private dormitories are completely closed. If we wanted to get a room, we didn’t have a carpet or a matting, we didn’t have dishes, we didn’t have a bed to sleep on. Each one of us scattered in every direction. We still haven’t found a permanent place for ourselves. We all have come together in one place and put our things here with us. Some have gone to their families. We still haven’t been able to find a permanent place for ourselves.”

On the other hand, some of these students claim that Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban’s acting minister of higher education, tore up the student cards of some of the expelled students himself in the classrooms. These students claim: “The Minister of Higher Education came. He took our university cards, and tore them up, without any conversation. He didn’t even talk with us; He just read the names and said to bring your university card. It is a shame that the Minister of Higher Education, without telling you what wrong have you committed, and according to that law, your card will be torn and you will be expelled. They do not tell you any reason and in the end, give you a life-threatening warning, and threaten your academic career.” These students still claim that the Taliban warned them, that they will come after them.

Sources at Kabul University add that at least half of the girls who were poisoned, in addition to being expelled from the dormitory, have also been expelled from the university, and this process continues every day. Sources add that these girls are now in a difficult situation and are wondering how to face their families.

Some of the expelled students are girls who planned to protest against the suicide attack on the Kaaj Educational Training Center in the Dasht-e Barchi area, which left dozens of victims, about two weeks ago. But they were poisoned as a group one night before launching this protest. A number of these girls have already explained to the Hasht-e Subh Daily that no one has come and taken care of them after they were poisoned. A number of these girls who went to private hospitals for treatment have now been expelled from the government dormitory and Kabul University.

Kabul University students still say that 60 people have been expelled so far. One of the students says: “They don’t expel all at once. One day they expel four or five people or 10 people, then they release the next group behind them so that they don’t know about others. Everyone has been warned. Those who were expelled decided to come together to find a solution. It has been said again that if you have a meeting, the consequences are on your shoulders.”

These students who were expelled from the dormitory and Kabul University expressed their concern about the continued repression and discriminatory behavior of the Taliban against the students, most of whom belong to the Hazara ethnicity, adding: “The process [expulsion] is continued daily.” One of these students notes: “We are on the verge of exams, and those who have monographs cannot get a room, they have financial problems, and they urgently need a room. No one can meet the expenses. No matter how I searched for three or four days, I could not find a place for me, I was left wondering where to go and what to do.”

Sources, quoting the director of the dormitory of Kabul University, told the Hasht-e Subh Daily: “We are planning to expel 100 students.” According to this source, “the expulsion process is going on in a discriminatory way, and the atmosphere of fear and suffocation reigns in the dormitory of the university, and the students are very worried and afraid of the prevailing situation there.”

On the other hand, a number of students are worried about returning home despite the pressures of the university and the current terrifying atmosphere. These students explain that due to the traditional nature of society, their families will rebuke and torture them because they were expelled from the university and the dormitory. According to them, their family members will not accept their innocence.

The Expulsion of Protesting Students in the Provinces

Expulsion of students due to the intention of participating in the protest march is not limited to Kabul only. This process is also going on in other provinces of the country. A source from the dormitory of Alberoni University in Kapisa province confirmed to the Hasht-e Subh Daily that eight female students were expelled from the university’s dormitory. According to this source, the girls were expelled from the dormitory on October 4, two days after the protest march that took place in this university, and they were warned not to publicize this issue through the media. Otherwise, they will be expelled from the university too.

Along with Kabul and Kapisa universities, the students of Herat University also marched in protest against the so-called “Hazara Genocide”, but they were severely repressed. Now the Acting Minister of Higher Education of the Taliban has warned them that if they do not observe the “Hijab”, this university will be closed to them.

An audio tape, which belongs to one of the female professors of this university, has been provided to the Hasht-e Subh Daily. In this tape, she quotes the president of this university as telling the girls that Herat University will be closed to girls if they do not observe the hijab, and continue wearing short dresses. It is stated in this audio tape: “The president of the university said that he heard the Minister of Higher Education that the students of Herat are “without hijab”. Some jealous people are very jealous of the western area of Afghanistan. In short, there is a possibility of fake news. While the students in Herat are much better than in Kabul [in their Islamic behavior], there is no other way. They are so corrupt that they spread bad propaganda that Herat University should be closed. So, God forbid, so that they don’t close the university, observe the hijab. Do not wear short and tight clothes.”

The protest of women and female students increased after the suicide attack on the Kaaj Educational Training Center in the Dasht-e Barchi area west of Kabul on the morning of September 39, killing 57 students and leaving more than 110 injured. In the latest case, public sources confirm that the number of dead in this bloody incident has increased to 64. After that, several women in Kabul and female students in Herat and Balkh universities started a protest and street march in connection with the suicide attack on Kaaj Educational Training Center. However, these girls were severely suppressed by the Taliban, and a number of them were arrested and then released on bail. Although it has been said that the female students at Kabul University only intended to start a protest march, they were expelled by the Taliban and denied further education. The majority of these girls are Hazaras.

Despite this, the Taliban confirm the expulsion of several students from Kabul University but do not provide a specific reason for it. Speaking to the media, Ahmad Taqi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education under the Taliban administration, said that these female students were expelled from Kabul University to “Maintain law and order”. The spokesperson of this ministry has explained that there was no discrimination in this process.

Amin Kawa – Senior Reporter and Analyst, Hasht-e Subh Daily