Taliban arrest professor after his fierce criticism of hardline regime 

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jan 09, 2022, 01:59 PM(IST)

File photo of Professor Faizullah Jalal with his wife Massouda Jalal Photograph:( AFP )

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted saying that Professor Faizullah Jalal was trying to 'instigate' people

The Taliban have arrested a prominent Afghan scholar who has openly criticised the group's hardline regime, said a government spokesman. Faizullah Jalal, the professor, has in past made several appearances on TV since the Taliban took power in August 2021. He has fiercely criticised the regime even on social media and has held the Taliban responsible for the economic crisis in the country.

Since returning to power, the Taliban have cracked down on dissent, forcefully dispersing women's rights protests and briefly detaining several Afghan journalists.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Jalal had been detained Saturday over statements he made on social media in which he was "trying to instigate people against the system and was playing with the dignity of the people".

"He has been arrested so that others don't make similar senseless comments in the name of being a professor or scholar that harm the dignity of others," he added.

Mujahid shared screenshots of tweets he claimed had been posted by Jalal, which said the Taliban intelligence chief was a stooge of Pakistan, and that the new government considers Afghans as "donkeys".

In one television appearance, Jalal called Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem -- who was also participating -- a "calf", a grave insult in Afghanistan.
Clips of his passionate criticism went viral on social media, sparking concern he risked Taliban retribution. 

Jalal's wife Massouda, who once stood as Afghanistan's first woman candidate for the presidency, posted on Facebook that her husband had been arrested by Taliban forces and detained in an unknown location.

"Dr. Jalal has fought and spoken out for justice and the national interest in all his activities pertaining to human rights," she said, as quoted by AFP.

A long-time professor of law and political science at Kabul University, Jalal has long had a reputation as a critic of Afghanistan's leaders.

On Twitter, rights group Amnesty International condemned the arrest of the lecturer "for exercising his freedom of expression and criticising the Taliban", calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

(With inputs from agencies)

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