With the 2014 deadline fast approaching for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, American and European politicians and analysts are busy trying to resolve pressing state-building issues. When it comes to ensuring security, policymakers should not forget about higher education in Afghanistan.
The increasing politicization of Afghan universities should be high on the list of security concerns. Anti-Western and anti-government militant groups are winning the increasing support of Afghan university students, and these groups already have managed to organize campus units that are assiduously undermining gradual efforts to liberalize Afghan society.
Moreover, some recent incidents on campuses clearly show that universities are places where political tensions are likely to burst first, and where student protests might potentially become a trigger for countrywide violence.
To read the full story
Urs Schrade is a conflict researcher and consultant based in Berlin. His areas of expertise include Afghanistan, Central Asia and United Nations Peacekeeping. He is pursuing a PhD at the Free University of Berlin and covers Afghanistan as lead researcher for NYU'S Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom MONITOR.