Western University of Health Sciences was joined by Atiqullah Atifmal,
the Afghan Consul General on Friday, October 6, 2006. The Consul General
attended an event on campus, intended to provide Kabul Medical University
with much-needed medical books and publications.
Nearly four decades ago, the Kabul Medical University, had facilities to
rival European universities, and was one of the most prestigious academic
institutions in Asia, attracting students from all over the Muslim
world. During the Afghan civil war and under the Taliban regime, the
vast complex was beyond desecration and the library books were burned by
“”Physicians, worldwide, dedicate their lives to preventing illness and
treating what they can not prevent,”” said Dr. Benjamin L. Cohen,
executive vice president for Academic Affairs and chief operating
officer. “”One could imagine not being able to train doctors to do their
jobs in the future. Kabul’s rebirth following this struggle, clearly
demonstrates that even the destruction of books cannot erase the
knowledge and commitment of a people. The university is pleased to be a
part of Kabul’s rebuilding and dedication to educating young men and
women to serve as physicians.””
Kabul Medical University is slowly on its way to recovery, and qualified
male and female students have equal opportunity to study once more.
Since the liberation of Afghanistan, a number of American and European
universities and other organizations have donated books to Kabul Medical
School. However, there remains a severe need for books and other
materials for countless knowledge-thirsty Afghan medical, dental, nursing
and paramedical students.
Dr. Nissar Darmani, chair of Basic Medical Sciences for the College of
Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), spearheaded a collective
WesternU effort to gather recent medical textbooks for donation. Dr.
Darmani and Dr. Cohen, and Dr. Richard Sugerman, executive assistant dean
for Basic Science and Research and professor of Anatomy, handed over 44
boxes containing over 500 medical textbooks to the Afghan Consul General.
“”I am very grateful to Western University of Health Sciences for their
important and usable donation to Kabul Medical University”” said Atiqullah
Atifmal, Consul General of Afghanistan. “”Afghanistan suffered three
decades of war and many things were destroyed, particularly our higher
education system. Nothing was left, no books were there. Now, more than
seven million boys and girls are going to school and there are 19
universities there, filled with students who are really eager to learn.
This generous gift from Dr. Darmani and Western University will help
In addition, the family of a former WesternU pharmacy student has
gathered an additional 200 text books for donation. An Afghan
businessman, Mr. Ludin, who operates the Ariana Worldwide Exports, will
deliver the books from Long Beach, California, to Kabul Medical
University in Afghanistan, at no cost.
“”We have seen book burnings before, but tenacity and human spirit have
always triumphed,”” said Dr. Cohen.