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Last updated: December 2020

This profile refers to people working in educational facilities, including government supported education, religious schools, and private institutions. Students could also be affected by association.

COI summary

The current objective of the insurgents is not to close schools, but rather to put pressure and gain control over them. Taliban leadership regularly issues statements proclaiming a ban on attacks on education. On a local level, depending on the local commander and the population, agreements between insurgents and educational facilities are often made. However, Taliban have reportedly closed government-sponsored madrassas claiming that they were not in accordance with the Taliban principles. Targeting of individuals due to the mere fact that they work in educational facilities is not common in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, incidents take place. Attacks on schools and killing, injuring, or abducting of educational personnel and students have been reported. In 2019, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 29 incidents in which AGEs deliberately attacked schools and education personnel, including burning of schools, abduction of teachers, forced closure of schools and direct attacks against students and education personnel. During the first quarter of 2020, the Taliban carried out summary execution and deliberate attacks against education personnel in Afghanistan, according to UNAMA. In these cases, this is related to the local dynamics of the conflict and its specific actors. Violent incidents targeting female teachers and female pupils, including sexual violence and harassment, are also reported [COI query on education sector, 2; Conflict targeting, 1.2.4, 1.5.1, 2.4; Key socio-economic indicators 2020, 2.5].

Risk analysis

Educational personnel could be exposed to acts that are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. kidnapping, killing).

Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: gender (i.e. female teachers), origin from contested areas and areas under ISKP influence, the individual or the institution not following insurgent directives and/or curriculum, speaking out against the Taliban, position of local commanders, links to foreign sponsors, etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that the persecution of this profile is for reasons of (imputed) political opinion. In some cases, religion could also be seen as a relevant ground, such as in the case of individuals persecuted for using a curriculum perceived as contravening the insurgents’ interpretation of Islam.