The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan on Saturday arrested an outspoken critic of the government and urged civil society activists for his immediate release.
Family members said Faizullah Jalal, a law and political science professor, was arrested by security forces at his residence in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
“As I confirm this disturbing news, I ask for the immediate release of my father, Professor Faizuallah Jalal,” tweeted Hasina Jalal, the daughter of the imprisoned professor.
In a statement late Saturday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the arrest of Jalal and accused him of inciting violence against the government through his social media posts.
Afghan television stations cited a security source who confirmed that Jalal was interrogated by Taliban intelligence on allegations against government agencies.
“[The] The Taliban never condoned criticism or freedom of expression. He should be released immediately, âPatricia Gossman, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter.
“Why & on what legal basis? Arbitrary arrests for opinion / analysis are counterproductive and a step in the wrong directionâ¦ in any society, âOmar Samad, former Afghan diplomat and senior fellow at the Washington Atlantic Council, asked on his tweeted reaction.
âAmnesty International condemns the arrest of Professor Faizullah Jalal, a professor at Kabul University, for exercising freedom of expression and criticizing the Taliban on a television program. We call on the Taliban authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, âtweeted the world right defender.
Critics say the return of the Islamic group in Afghanistan last August led to increasing restrictions on the freedoms of all citizens, especially women and girls.
With the exception of those who work in some sectors, most women have been ordered to stay at home until laws and procedures regarding women are in place – more than four months after the Taliban took control of the country. Millions of girls over the sixth grade in many Afghan provinces are unable to attend school.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Islamic Orientation has instructed taxi drivers to only carry female passengers wearing a headscarf or an Islamic hijab and accompanied by a male relative when they travel more than 72 kilometers.
The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which enforces the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam, has banned Afghan women from driving and instructed local TV stations to stop showing entertainment programs with actresses. Female TV presenters are required to wear hijabs while the program is on.
This week, the ministry spokesman confirmed that they had posted posters instructing women to wear hijabs in cafes and shops in the Kabul area.
“If someone does not obey it, it does not mean that they will be punished or beaten, it is just an encouragement for Muslim women to obey Sharia law,” Sadeq Akif Muhajir told Agence France-Presse on Friday.
The United States and allied nations withdrew their remaining troops from Afghanistan on August 30, and the Taliban have since consolidated their control of the country. The international community has refused to recognize the new government in Kabul until the Taliban guarantees respect for human rights for all Afghans and enables women to fully participate in public life.
Washington has frozen billions of dollars in Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves since the Taliban takeover, while the bulk of foreign financial aid has been suspended, bringing the aid-dependent country’s economy to the brink of collapse.
The punitive measures have raised humanitarian needs in the South Asian nation to unprecedented levels as the United Nations warned that an estimated 24 million Afghans will need assistance this year, many of whom are likely to be in acute food insecurity by March. The humanitarian crisis stems from years of war, poverty and a prolonged drought.