The president of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), David S. Sedney, on Thursday said the school administration is working hard to secure continued funding for the school.
A report by CNN in December, quoting several sources, gave the impression that the school, heavily funded by USAID, might not receive funding this year.
While Sedney cannot say with certainty that new funds will be available, he is optimistic that funds allocated by recent US legislation for education in Afghanistan will be available.
Last month an appropriations bill passed by the US Congress made provision for funds that "shall be made available to continue support for institutions of higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan that are accessible to both women and men in a coeducational environment, including for the costs for operations and security for such institutions."
He said that security threats against the school were the biggest challenge in way for continued for funding for the institution.
“This will continue to be a struggle, continue to require a lot of effort, but not just myself, but the board of trustees and the entire student body, faculty and staff here at the university will continue these efforts for funding. I am optimistic, but there is nothing guaranteed in life--only God knows what’s going to happen,” said Sedney.
He said that from the total amount of $20 million which is allocated for the school annually, 25 percent of that amount is being spent on the security of the school.
“The biggest threat really is security. Three years ago the Taliban attacked us, killed 15 of our faculty, students, staff and guards and wounded over a hundred, they kidnapped two of our professors who were just released just a few weeks ago,” added Sedney.
Meanwhile, a number of students have also raised deep concerns over the possible closure of their school.
“No other institution is offering a liberal arts education--because of this, the future of the entire student body is affected by this decision,” said Murtaza Mohammadi, a student at AUAF.
“With the closure of this university, the future of whole student classes will be devastated because the students here want to learn with international standards, which exist here,” said AUAF student Jamshid Mohammadi.
The university came under a complex attack by the Taliban in 2016, which left 15 people dead and 50 more wounded.
Two former AUAF professors, Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian, were kidnapped in 2016 and just recently released in a prisoner swap preceding resumed peace talks.
The university’s annual budget is about $28 million, according to Sedney, as quoted by CNN.
800 students are currently enrolled at AUAF.