Greeting the religious police of Taliban with punches and kicks
By RAWA reporter from Kabul

Towards the end of July 1998, the junior students of the Department of Law and Political Sciences at Kabul University went together to their classroom to find out about the exam procedure given by Basharmand, professor of criminology, whose age is above 57. While the students were talking and exchanging questions and answers with their professor, six Talibs, one of whom introduced himself as the director of the criminal division of the religious police office, entered the room without greeting. The students, who were gathering around the professor, did not pay any attention to the unknown intruders and continued their discussion.

The Talib cops who saw that they were being ignored by the students, started punching on the door, and after they got the students and professor's attention, started asking irrelevant questions from the professor.

-"Are the professor? Do you speak Pashtu? Do like your students?"

The professor, who was enraged at their insulting behavior, said: "None of your business."

The Talib, who had a huge stomach, said in an arrogant and angry way: "Do you know who I am? I'm the director of the criminal division. Do you have any feelings, shame,...?"

-"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have any feelings."

-"Why didn't you say hello then? Why do the students seem so spiteful?"

-"Anyone who enters the room should say hello; and ask the students themselves why they are so spiteful."

The Taliban fighter, who did not expect this kind of replies, slapped the professor hard in the face. The professor, while his students were grabbing his hands and forcing him out of the room, was shouting with fury and contempt: "You are the agents of Pakistan. You're not even from Afghanistan. You disgrace Islam. I'm ashamed of speaking to you..." The students tried to get their professor in a taxi immediately and rid him of the mean-spirited and resentful Talibs. But the professor, because of the savage and offensive treatment by the Talibs, refused his students' request and returned to the department, and as soon as he saw the Talibs again, repeated what he had said previously.

The director who had realized that he had to take control of the situation and intimidate the professor and students and arrest them under some pretext, insulted the professor even more and called him such vulgar names as pimp, infidel, heathen, etc. The Talibs, then, tried to take all of them away, with the threat of their guns (they were all armed with guns). The students became furious after hearing all the abusive insults to their professor and started beating up the Talibs, without giving them the opportunity to use their guns, and battered them so much that the director could not get up at the end. During the brawl, one of the Talibs managed to get himself out of the students' punches and kicks (there were about 25 students) and escaped to the closest security post. Sometime later, three Toyota pick-up trucks with about 30 armed Talibs surrounded the department and then entered the corridor. The students, who saw the armed Talibs coming, started fleeing the scene. The professor, however, did not escape since he did not want to jeopardize the lives of his students. The Taliban's religious police managed to capture three students (Rahimollah, Ghafur, and Mir Vais) and Professor Basharmand. They beat them up with the stocks of their guns and then threw them on their cars, while bleeding.

The situation of the three students and the professor was unknown for a week, and the other junior students refused to attend their exams because one of the professors had promised to give them an exam in secret. With the mediation of Hamidollah Laghmani, the so-called Minister of Higher Educations who is one the qualified Talibs himself, these four were released.

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