The aide of an Afghan academic who voiced outrage on live television against the Taliban’s ban on women’s university education on Friday claimed authorities have “beaten and detained” the lecturer.
Veteran journalism lecturer Ismail Mashal had torn his degree certificates to shreds on TV in December, protesting an edict ending women's higher education.
In recent days, domestic channels showed Mashal carting books around Kabul and offering them to passers-by.
"Mashal was mercilessly beaten and taken away in a very disrespectful manner by members of the Islamic Emirate," Mashal's aide Farid Ahmad Fazli told the AFP news agency, referring to the Taliban government. A Taliban official confirmed the detention.
"Teacher Mashal had indulged in provocative actions against the system for some time," tweeted Abdul Haq Hammad, director at the Ministry of Information and Culture. "The security agencies took him for investigation."
Mashal – a lecturer for more than a decade at three Kabul universities – was detained on Thursday despite having "committed no crime", Fazli said.
"He was giving free books to sisters [women] and men," he added. "He is still in detention and we don't know where he is being held."
Footage of Mashal destroying his certificates on private channel TOLOnews went viral on social media.
"As a man and as a teacher, I was unable to do anything else for them, and I felt that my certificates had become useless. So, I tore them," he said at the time.
"I'm raising my voice. I'm standing with my sisters... My protest will continue even if it costs my life." (AFP)