KABUL (SW) – The American University of Afghanistan has said efforts are underway to ensure that the funding for AUAF operations, security, and academic programs is in place for 2020 and beyond.
This comes after The CNN reported that the AUAF is drawing up plans to shut down next year, a casualty of anticipated US government budget slashing of the school's steady stream of funding. According to the report, the university is widely regarded as a top university in Afghanistan and the only one that provides a Western-style education. Established in 2006, the school now has a student body that is about half female and presents an important opportunity for women, who the Taliban once forbid from going to school. Many of its graduates have gone on to serve in the Afghan government.
The university relies on the US Agency for International Development for more than 60% of its budget and could not operate without the agency's financial backing. The school has been unable to secure assurance from the agency that it will continue funding the school.
The current funding will last through May. The university's annual budget is about $28 million, the school's president, David Sedney, told CNN
On Sunday, Sedney said in a statement that the news reports have correctly reported that AUAF is dependent on US government funding. He said the US government funding was necessarily increased in 2017 to allow for heightened security that enabled AUAF to reopen in March 2017, following the Taliban attack eight months earlier. We value our long and productive relationship with the US Government, especially USAID.
“As long as sustainable peace is still an aspirational goal, rather than a reality in Afghanistan, the need for funding to maintain a strong security environment will also remain reality. I, along with the AUAF Board and Administration, am actively working to ensure that the funding for AUAF operations, security, academic programs (including new programs) is in place for 2020 and beyond”, said the AUAF President, David Sedney.