Taliban Orders Professors To Refrain from Criticising Group, Use “National Terms”

Wednesday, 05/31/2023

The Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education has ordered university professors to refrain from criticising the group’s government in their academic papers.

According to a letter obtained by Afghanistan International, the professors must know Dari and Pashto languages.

The letter contains seven points as orders to be followed in research and translation and has been signed by Hamidullah Muzammil, the director of research and translation of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban.

A reliable source from the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

The letter orders professors to defend the current Taliban regime and avoid any kind of criticism in their writings so as to not face any consequences.

The letter explicitly asked that the professors to avoid using Persian terms for “court, prosecutor, student, university, and faculty,” in their research work. The Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban has said that the country has "national terms" for these words and those terms must be used.

Banning Persian terms, particularly for universities in different cities of Afghanistan, has caused many reactions inside Afghan universities and the media. The Taliban’s government agencies have labeled these Persian terms as “foreign” and prevented their use by Persian speakers of Afghanistan. It is while the officials of the previous Afghan government and the Taliban are not sensitive towards terms from Urdu and English languages used across the country.

Earlier, the Taliban had removed Persian words from plaques of government agencies across Afghanistan.

The letter, too, has stated that the university professors need to learn Pashto and Dari as the two official languages of Afghanistan. The letter emphasised that "each professor must be able to read, write, speak and teach both official languages."

The letter also ordered university professors to write with “full respect” the names of national figures including “Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan”; “Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi”, “and “Ahmad Shah Baba.” The Taliban have threatened that failure to comply with these orders will result in the prosecution of "the author, researcher, translator, supervisor” and other university officials, including the university chancellor.

The letter from the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education stressed that the authors of academic papers must quote Islamic views in their writings and that failure to comply with these orders will have severe consequences.

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