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American University of Afghanistan Could Shut Down Next Year Due to Funding Cuts

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American University of Afghanistan Could Shut Down Next Year Due to Funding Cuts

American-based news agency CNN has reported that the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) could shut down next year if the US government cuts funds.

Established in 2006, AUAF is the country’s only nationally accredited, private, not-for-profit and co-educational university. It has produced 29 Fulbright Scholars and has graduates who serve Afghan government now.

The university receives most of its funds from the United States Agency for International Development, and it has been unable to secure the agency’s assurance to renew funding.

The current funding will last through May, according to CNN’s report.

“At a meeting with members of the AUAF Board of Trustees on December 9, 2019, USAID’s leadership once again strongly encouraged the university to diversify its funding sources, as representatives from the Agency had done in past correspondence and previous meetings, both in Washington and in Kabul,” a USAID spokesperson told CNN. “AUAF’s Board, not USAID, has the fiduciary responsibility to make decisions regarding the future of the university, which is an independent entity.”

It remains unclear why the USAID has made no formal funding commitment to the university.

This comes as the Trump administration recently announced the drawdown of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan The withdrawal will leave between 8,000 and 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“We have not given up hope. The closure would be a huge political symbol. The American University of Afghanistan is the single best thing that the US has done in terms of a positive legacy in Afghanistan,” said AUAF’s President David Sedney to CNN. “It represents hope for a peaceful future. We provide the highest quality education available in Afghanistan, and our students are already in leadership positions in government and in the nonprofit sector.”

The university was brutally attacked in 2016 by the Taliban that took the lives of 15 students, faculty and staff. The school remained closed for seven months following the attack.

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