Family and friends of Ismail Mashal, an outspoken university lecturer and a campaigner for women and girls’ education in Afghanistan, said they are not aware of his situation over the past 15 days after his arrest by the Taliban.
One of his relatives who wished not to be named over the sensitivity of the matter said that “there is no news about his whereabouts.” He said Mashal did not commit any act against the Sharia.
“His family is concerned about him and they have lost their calm,” said Mashal’s relative.
His family has visited the Taliban’s intelligence and the interior ministry many times, but they could not know about his whereabouts and have not been able to meet him so far, the source said.
His family has called for international organizations’ support for the professor’s release from Taliban custody.
On Feb. 1, started a campaign with his cart to distribute books for people in support of women and girls’ education in Afghanistan.
Ismail Mashal, a university lecturer and owner of a private university, last month tore up all his education documents on a live interview with a local TV channel in protest against the Taliban’s ban on women’s higher education, girls’ education and the ban on women working for aid agencies. He vowed to stop working as a lecturer and close his university if the ban on education wasn’t overturned.
After a short break at home, Mashal started building a cart in the shape of a tree. On top of the tree, it is written that education is obligatory for men and women. Names of all university subjects are written on the leaves of the tree, such as computer science, philosophy, medical studies, social sciences and so on.
Taliban’s head of information and culture directorate for Kabul, Abdulhaq Hamad, confirmed on Feb. 2 that Mashal has been arrested for “conspiracy” against the system.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN special rapporteur have asked for the immediate release of the university lecturer.