Matiullah Wesa of the Pen Path NGO that travels across Afghanistan with a mobile school and library has been arrested in Kabul, says UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNMA).

The United Nations says a prominent Afghan girls’ education activist has been arrested in Kabul and called on Taliban authorities to clarify the reason for his detention.

“Matiullah Wesa, head of Pen Path and advocate for girls’ education, was arrested in Kabul Monday,”  UNAMA twitted yesterday.

“UNAMA calls on the de facto authorities to clarify his whereabouts, the reasons for his arrest and to ensure his access to legal representation and contact with family.”

Al Jazeera says spokespeople for the Taliban administration’s information ministry and intelligence agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment or confirm the detention.

Wesa, who comes from the southern province of Kandahar, has reportedly for years advocated for girls’ education, particularly in rural areas, including during the tenure of the previous Western-backed foreign government when he said many girls living in the countryside were not reached by education services.

His organization, Pen Path, has held meetings with tribal elders, encouraged communities and authorities to open schools, and disbursed books and mobile libraries.

Al Jazeera notes that Wesa has been outspoken in his demands for girls to have the right to go to school and learn, and has repeatedly called on the Taliban government to reverse its bans.

His most recent tweets about female education coincided with the start of the new academic year in Afghanistan, with girls remaining shut out of classrooms and campuses.

“The damage that closure of schools causes is irreversible and undeniable. We held meetings with locals and we will continue our protest if the schools remain closed,” he reportedly tweeted last week.

“Men, women, elderly, young, everyone from every corner of the country are asking for the Islamic rights to education of their daughters,” he said in another tweet, hours before he was arrested.

Local reports said Taliban security forces arrested Wesa after his return from a trip to Europe.

The Taliban administration has barred girls from school beyond the sixth grade and women from universities, saying there are perceived problems including around female Muslim dress.  Officials have said they are undertaking work to reopen schools but have not given a time frame.