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WesternU Donates Needed Medical Books to Kabul Medical University Event Attended by Afghan Consul General Atiqullah Atifmal

by Rodney Tanaka

October 6, 2006

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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

the Taliban.

“”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

these students.””

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.


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