The Taliban has arrested a university professor in Kabul who gained national fame for scolding a senior official on live television, a sign of the growing repression of critics of Afghanistan’s new regime.
Faizullah Jalal, a professor of political science and law at Kabul University, was arrested on Saturday, weeks after confronting a Taliban official in a debate on Afghanistan’s largest television network, Tolo. He lashed out at the Taliban’s extremist regime and called Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, a “terrorist” and a “calf”, an Afghan insult to people with low intelligence.
Taliban chief Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the arrest of Mr. Jalal d Twitter, and called the professor a “fanatic” who used social media to excite people. Mr. Mujahid posted screenshots of an account on social media, sending anti-Taliban messages in the professor’s name.
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Mr. Jalal’s family members, who run his official Twitter account, said the account on the screenshots was fake. Mr. Jalal’s daughter, Hasina, told The Wall Journal that the family had not been able to contact the professor since Saturday afternoon local time.
In the weeks following the takeover in August, the Taliban repeatedly said they supported free media and for the most part refrained from imprisoning critics, even as dozens of former government officials and security forces were shot down, often by unknown assailants.
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