Taliban Arrests Prominent Afghan Professor After Criticism

The Taliban arrested a prominent university professor in Afghanistan on Jan. 8 after he publicly criticized the regime in a live television debate.

Taliban authorities arrested Faizullah Jalal, a long-time professor of law and political science in Kabul University, after he repeatedly spoke out against the Taliban-led government in a live talk show.

In the talk show, Jalal also called Taliban Spokesperson Mohammed Naeem a “calf,” a grave insult in Afghanistan that means “stupid.”

Government Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that authorities arrested Jalal for “inciting people against the system.”

“Do not say such things from the address and do not harm anyone’s personality and honor,” Mujahid added.

Jalal’s daughter, Hasina, said on Jan. 9 that her family has had no contact with Jalal since his arrest.

“After several attempts to learn about my father’s health and whereabouts, the Taliban authorities did not allow us to talk to him,” Hasina, a fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, said on Twitter.

The arrest prompted international criticism.

Amnesty International South Asia condemned the arrest and called on Taliban authorities “to immediately and unconditionally release” Jalal.

Human Rights Watch Associate Asia Director Patricia Gossman also called for Jalal’s immediate release, saying that the “Taliban never have tolerated criticism or free speech.”

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