Supporters of a prominent university professor, and one of the staunchest critics of the Taliban in Afghanistan, are calling for his release after he was arrested on Saturday.
Faizullah Jalal, a professor at Kabul University, was detained by the Taliban after the group claimed he was responsible for a series of messages on social media attacking them.
The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted: “A fan named #Jalal has been arrested for his comments on social media inciting people against the #system and playing with human dignity,” adds screenshots of posts from a social media account with the name and the photograph of Jalal.
But his daughter, Hosna Jalal, said that the accounts listed by Mujahid are false. “In fact, we had informed them to Twitter a week before, but they did not take any action. We have emails to prove that, ”he said.
Hosna, who is currently studying in Europe, said she found out about the arrest from social media. “We don’t know where he is being held or how he is. The Taliban have refused to let us speak to him. We were able to confirm the news through friends who were with him at the time of his arrest, ”he added.
Jalal is one of the best-known political commentators in the country and a longtime activist against authoritarian regimes. He was arrested in 1978 for his role in protests against the communist coup in Afghanistan and was detained and tortured in the Pul-e-Charkhi prison. After his release, he joined Kabul University as a professor. In 1993, he was appointed rector of the university, a position he held until 1996, when the Taliban took Kabul. In 2001, after the fall of the Taliban, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Education, before returning to academia. He is married to Massouda Jalal, Afghanistan’s first female presidential candidate and a former minister in the now-abolished Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
“This is hard for my mother but she understands it, because all her life she has been part of non-violent civil resistance,” Hosna said. “Every time I talk to him he tells me how happy he is to be among people, to be their voice. I am very proud of him and we pray that he is released and reunites with his people, “she added.
Jalal supporters, particularly women’s groups, have taken to the streets of Kabul to call for his immediate release. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also raised concerns about Jalal’s arrest. “Despite the fact that Faizullah Jalal’s family has confirmed that the Twitter account created in his name is false, he is still being held in custody. The Taliban authorities must release him immediately and unconditionally, ”Samira Hamidi, an Afghan activist and Amnesty International activist in South Asia, told The Guardian.
Jalal appeared in a televised debate with a Taliban panelist in November 2021 and told him: “You cannot rule with force, terror, power and destruction. This country belongs to all people. The country does not belong to a group, an ethnic group, a class or a group of four people ”.
His family became very concerned for his safety after the debate. “We urge him to leave Kabul because the Taliban can be vindictive,” said his daughter. “(But) He has never wanted to leave. Even when we left, he refused to leave. And I know that even after this he won’t go away. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism