Officials pursuing release of Iranian journalist nabbed in Kabul

TEHRAN- Iranian officials have launched efforts for an early release of the Tasnim photojournalist, who has been detained by the Taliban.

Mohammad Hossein Velayati was nabbed at Kabul Airport while he was returning to Iran. The Taliban have provided no explanation about his arrest.

Velayati had spent 10 days in the capital city of Afghanistan, where he had lawfully entered the country.

It is anticipated that the Taliban would move fast to release the photojournalist given the bitter memory that the Taliban killed an Iranian journalist and eight diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif in August 1998.

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian President’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, has declared that his nation is committed to working to secure the freedom of the detained journalist.

Kazemi Qomi stated that he had previously spoken with the Iranian embassy in Kabul about bringing up the matter with the local authorities.

“A short while ago, I engaged in discussions with officials in Kabul and their intelligence agencies. I was informed that they are actively pursuing this issue, and, God willing, a resolution will be achieved soon,” Qomi stated.

Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, also emphasized the ministry’s steadfast efforts to win the release of the Tasnim photojournalist.

“After receiving pertinent information, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly launched its investigation in coordination with Afghan authorities and is fervently pursuing his release,” the spokesperson said.

MP Fadahossein Maleki also raised worry over the incident during a joint session of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Parliament on Tuesday with the Foreign Ministry.

Expressing concern over the detention of the Iranian journalist, Maleki said members of the committee met with the Foreign Minister and a few of his deputies.

The incarceration of a nation’s photojournalist in Afghanistan was one of the session’s major issues, he said.

“Considering that Mr. Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the special representative of the President for Afghan affairs, was also present at the session, he emphasized that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is diligently pursuing the reasons for the photographer’s detention by the Taliban, responding to demands by the National Security Committee,” Maleki pointed out.

Maleki went on to state that the situation is being closely watched to ensure the release of the journalist as soon as possible and that conversations have started with Kabul and Afghan intelligence services to contact the local authorities.

The MP added that the subject of water rights from the Helmand River was another item on the agenda that deserved special attention.

“The committee members felt that this issue needed to be prioritized and dealt with by the country’s diplomatic apparatus because of the Taliban’s breaches of trust,” Maleki remarked.

Source: Tehran Times