“I was born to tell the truth. I will die to tell the truth. There is no force in the world to force me not to tell the truth”

Professor Faizlullah Jalal

Abductions have continued across Afghanistan since the Taliban-Haqqani terrorist network took control of the country in August 2021. A recent high-profile abduction caught the attention of many this week when Professor Faizlullah Jalal was taken from his home on January 8 and imprisoned. The abduction followed a recent discussion of the failings of the Taliban-Haqqani regime on television. The Taliban claimed they were arresting him for something he tweeted. Despite explaining that he was not on Twitter, the Taliban-Haqqani took him. He was taken by intelligence operatives based on loose charges that he was inciting Afghans to resist the current regime.

What followed was a series of ever-growing calls for his release. First from Afghans and then from high-profile persons in various governments, the press, and international organizations. Speaking with his daughter during his detention, it was clear to me that the Taliban were using the made-up Twitter complaints to detain and threaten him against speaking out against the illegal Taliban regime.

On January 11, Hasina Jalal released the following statement, via Twitter, “After more than four days of detention on baseless charges, I confirm that Professor Jalal is now finally released!”

During his illegal detention on trumped-up charges, his family was not allowed to contact Professor Jalal. The family repeatedly explained to the Taliban-Haqqani inquisitors that they were looking at a false Twitter account and confusing it with an actual one. The jailers refused to give the family any updates on their father and the charges while he was detained.

Like most families in Afghanistan, Jalal’s was very concerned about his safety. The cycle of abduction or disappearances in Afghanistan continue, and they often end with mutilated and tortured bodies being discovered dumped by the Taliban-Haqqani abductors. Currently, Faisal Mudares, a journalist who filmed a viral video of an Afghan woman speaking out against the Taliban is in Taliban detention. According to reporter Tajuden Soroush, the Faisal’s family said he was taken by the Taliban eight days ago right in front of a restaurant in Kabul.

Professor Jalal has been an outspoken critic of governments in Afghanistan for decades and is seen as a fair analyst when he frequently appears on television and radio. Upon release, Jalal said that he was advised (threatened) to think more carefully about the new realities in the country under Taliban rule. A “Taliban member told him those realities include respecting the more restrictive Islamist view of free expression rather than the liberal interpretation of the West.”

Although the professor appears to have been treated carefully in custody by the Taliban, it is still a clear message to all Afghans who dare to speak up to the current government. That message is that the Taliban-Haqqani thugs do not care about the rule of law or free speech, that human rights will not be respected in Afghanistan, and that there will be consequences for speaking out.

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Jason spent 23 years in USG service conducting defense, diplomacy, intelligence, and education missions globally. Now he teaches, writes, podcasts, and speaks publicly about Islam, foreign affairs, and national security. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild, works with numerous non-profits and aids conflict resolution in Afghanistan.