Afghan professor who called Taliban intel chief ‘stooge of Pak’ arrested (Ld)

Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have arrested an outspoken critic of the government, drawing strong calls for his immediate release from civil society activists, VOA reported.

Family members said Faizullah Jalal, a professor of law and political science, was arrested by security forces from 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 detained professor.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Jalal had been detained on 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”, Samaa TV reported.

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.

Afghan television channels quoted a security source as confirming Jalal was being interrogated by the Taliban intelligence agency for leveling allegations against government departments, VOA reported.

“(The) Taliban never have tolerated criticism or free speech. He should be released immediately,” Patricia Gossman, the associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter.

“Why & based on what legal ground? Arbitrary arrests for expressing one’s views/analysis is counterproductive & a step in the wrong direction… in any society,” Omar Samad, former Afghan diplomat and senior fellow at Washington’s Atlantic Council asked in his tweeted reaction, VOA reported.

“Amnesty International condemns the arrest of Professor Faizullah Jalal, Kabul university lecturer, for exercising his freedom of expression and criticizing the Taliban on a TV show. We call on the Taliban authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him,” tweeted the global rights defender.

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