Taliban assault on PhD scholar shocks student community

By Kallol Bhattacherjee
South Asia University PhD scholar Habibullah Farzad (right) was protesting against the Taliban along with a large group of women in western Kabul when he was beaten up and taken into custody.

The Taliban’s crackdown on protesters in Kabul on Wednesday shook the student community of the South Asia University (SAU) here as one of the protesters who was beaten up is a second year Ph.D. scholar of the Department of Sociology. The university draws a large number of students from SAARC member countries annually.

The student, Habibullah Farzad, was protesting against the Taliban along with a large group of women in western Kabul when he was beaten up and taken into custody. Sources among the protesters told The Hindu that Mr. Farzad was taken into a Taliban-run police station where he was forced to change his bloodied clothes. Mr. Farzad, an ethnic Hazara from Ghazni, has a residence in Kabul where he has been staying pending his return to the SAU.

According to sources in the SAU, there are several Afghan students in the Departments of Sociology and Economics who were unable to return because of the situation in Kabul. Mr. Farzad is one of the two Afghan Ph.D. scholars in the Department of Sociology.

The Taliban also attacked journalists who were covering the protest and were left with horrific injuries because of the beatings and lashes.


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