Taliban rips out trees in ‘political move’ at Kabul University

The Taliban has started systematically removing established trees in the gardens of Kabul University’s campus in what some say is a political move.

Many of the trees were planted over the past 20 years, by key figures including one planted by former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was assassinated in a suicide bombing in Kabul in 2011.

Sources said the Taliban has brought in workers with excavators and electric saws and for the past two weeks have been systematically pulling up trees – leaving open spaces where they once stood.

Many of the trees have been removed with their roots, said the sources who added that this latest move has impacted what were really well-maintained gardens at this sprawling campus.

According to two sources, who visited the campus, at least 20 trees have been removed from different areas, including the yard in front of the chancellor’s office, the fine arts faculty, the auditorium and in a garden behind the computer science faculty.

The sources said this latest move is “political” as many of the trees were planted by well known individuals including Rabbani.

Some students said they were “shocked” by the move, calling it “horrible”. They said the landscape in many areas has completely changed and is “horribly” empty in places.

The sources told Amu TV that a Taliban team from Kabul Municipality is working closely with university officials and recently held a meeting. However, details of what was discussed at the meeting are not as yet available. Taliban officials at Kabul Municipality did not respond to Amu’s queries about the removal of trees at Kabul University.

Kabul University is one of the biggest universities in Afghanistan and one of the oldest. It was established in 1932 during the reign of King Mohammed Nadir Shah.