Conflicts & War

Prominent Afghan academic detained by Taliban released

Kabul, Jan 11 (EFE).- University professor Faizullah Jalal, one of the most prominent critics of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, was released on Tuesday after several days of arrest for allegedly insulting Islamist leaders.

“After more than four days of detention on baseless charges, I confirm that Professor Jalal is now finally released,” his daughter Hasina Jalal tweeted.

Jalal, a teacher of political science, was arrested on Saturday from his residence in the Afghan capital, and transferred to an unknown place, according to his relatives.

The Taliban government justified the detention as an exemplary measure, claiming the teacher was engaged in making “meaningless comments and inciting people against the government,” damaging the dignity of the people concerned.

Taliban Deputy Information Minister Zabiullah Mujahid also shared the alleged provocative messages from Jalal on social media against the Islamists.

Jalal’s family, however, said that the account from where those messages originated was not Jalal’s and that it was being used to harm him.

The detention of Jalal almost immediately caused protests by members of civil society, activists, and human rights agencies, who demanded the immediate release of prominent Afghan analysts.

According to Amnesty International, fake messages from the social network were used against Jalal for his views on a television show, and his arrest is only the latest Taliban effort to quell dissent.

Amnesty said in a statement after his arrest that Jalal was simply exercising his right to freedom of expression by pointing out the Taliban’s failure to address the humanitarian catastrophe currently ravaging Afghanistan during a televised debate.

Since the Taliban came to power on Aug.15, activists and nonprofits have denounced persecution, intimidation, and attacks on numerous civil society figures.

Thousands of activists, journalists, politicians, and prominent members of society have fled Afghanistan in recent months and many of those who remain in the country claim their lives are in danger. EFE


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