As part of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, I and several other students from Stanford Law School recently visited Kabul for textbook-writing research. There, we sat in on a class, the Introduction to the Laws of Afghanistan, taught to a group of 30 eager Afghan undergraduates at the American University of Afghanistan. The professor, Haroon Mutasem, is a rising star in the legal community. He was first in his class at Kabul University during the Taliban era – even though it was dangerous for anyone from his Tajik ethnic group to “stand out” among the predominantly Pashtun Taliban . He then received an advanced legal degree from the University of Washington on a scholarship.
Mr. Mutasem cold-called students, just as one would at an American law school, and they responded with thoughtful answers and asked pointed questions of their own. The evening class time accommodates students with full-time jobs, like Jamil Danish, who works during the day as a journalist. Mr. Danish wanted to learn about Afghan law to better inform his coverage of politics and current events.