The 36 government and 10 private universities established in Afghanistan in the last 15 years are in danger after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Government universities were run with the help of American or other international agencies whose funding has now stopped. In this way, the private universities run by the fees of the students are also not expected to last long. Research work was also started in government universities with the help of foreign agencies, but after the arrival of Taliban, they have been eclipsed.
The journal Nature has published a detailed report on the impact of universities and research activities in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. It said that higher education and research in the country has suffered a severe setback. Terror has overtaken them. Researchers and scientists engaged in this are leaving the country. They have been assured of help from 164 institutions of the world. But except some people of American University of Afghan, the rest are still stuck in the country.
Kenneth Howland, who was the President of the American University of Afghanistan in 2016-17 and played a key role in establishing it, is currently the Dean of OP Jindal University, Sonepat. They say that America largely established universities there. Three dozen government universities were established after 2010. Some were already running in this, which were re-erected, while in the meantime ten private universities were also established.
The research was supported by US Aid, IMF and other agencies and good work was done on this front. Hollande was already working there. They tell that the establishment of the university took two functions. While the number of students growing in the university was only eight thousand in 2001, it reached 1.70 lakh in 2018 of which a quarter were girls. Similarly, in 2011 only 71 papers were published while in 2019 this number increased to 285.
Holland says that due to the suspension of foreign funding, the teachers and staff of the university are not getting salary. Research projects are also closing. Whether the Taliban will allow the university and research project to continue is still unclear. It can’t even be expected that he will let go. Even if it allows to run, the question is, will there be global funding? DG Vaijay of Kabul Polytechnic University says that Tabilan has said that the officials will continue to work. But how the university will run without funds, how research will be done, it is not clear. The future appears uncertain.
Many scientists of Afghan origin did this to promote scientific research in Afghanistan even while living abroad. But they are discouraged by the arrival of the Taliban. They are trying to help Afghan researchers. 164 global institutions have appealed for his immediate removal.