The Taliban will punish those who criticize the scholars and officials of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” without any authenticity, be it with a gesture, word or otherwise, ANI news agency reported quoting Voice of America (VOA). Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has reportedly published a new set of instructions attributed to their leader, Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, calling their implementation “shariah responsibility” from the people and the media.
The Afghan people have been ordered to stop making unnecessary accusations against government officials and to avoid criticism that is “away from reality” without specifying it. The Sunni Pashtun group has long been accused of gross human rights violations and often criticized for its stance on girls’ education and women’s rights.
Several reports from human rights groups and media suggest that the Taliban “arrested, imprisoned and tortured some people who criticized them on social media”. According to Akhundzada’s new instructions, such actions are considered “negative propaganda” that “unconsciously aids the enemies,” VOA reported.
If someone “touches a soldier, or pulls his clothes, or says bad things to him” will be considered a criminal act under the new guidelines under the VOA.
A self-identified “National Resistance Front” is fighting the Taliban government in Afghanistan and has repeatedly accused Islamist fundamentalists of “arresting, killing and injuring civilians”. According to a UN report released earlier this week, 18 extrajudicial killings, 54 cases of torture and ill-treatment and 113 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention and 23 cases of incommunicado detention of persons affiliated to the National Resistance Front have been registered.
The new guidelines were published weeks after a mullah from Herat, Mujibur Rahman Ansari, asked participants at the “Great Meeting of Scholars” in Kabul to issue a fatwa calling for the leaders of the opposition’s opponents to be beheaded. Taliban government, VOA reported.
Baitullah Hamidi, a journalism professor at Kabul University, wrote on his Facebook page that this situation “will make the repression and violence in the country stronger and more terrifying”.
He also wrote that “no one is free from criticism in the face of the world.” No emir or any other human being is so holy that he should not be criticized…. This is the final nail in the coffin of free speech.”