Iranian journalist detained by Taliban released

TEHRAN- Iranian photojournalist Mohammad Hossein Velayati who had been detained in Afghanistan was released on Friday night.

Velayati, who works for the Tasnim news agency, was held captive by the Taliban for a week before being freed. He was handed over to the Iranian embassy in Kabul.

Velayati’s release has been verified by Bilal Karimi, the Taliban’s deputy spokesman.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed optimism that diplomatic efforts resulted in the speedy release of the photojournalist.

“Intensive diplomatic and consular efforts are underway to return home Mr. Mohammad Hossein Velayati, the photographer of Tasnim news agency,” Amir Abdollahian said in a post on X on Friday.

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, had said on Wednesday that Iran’s diplomatic apparatus was working with the necessary Afghan authorities to secure his release. Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, had also noted that the Iranian mission in Kabul was taking the situation seriously.

On Tuesday, MP Fadahossein Maleki had also raised worry over the incident in a joint session of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee with Foreign Ministry officials. 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.

Velayati was nabbed at Kabul Airport while he was returning home.

He had spent 10 days in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. He had entered the country lawfully.

In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after “peace talks” between Washington, which ultimately resulted in the quick departure of U.S. and NATO troops after their disastrous 20-year presence in the guise of “war on terror” and “nation building.”

The Taliban’s rule is not yet recognized by any nation. The Taliban have been fighting to stem a worsening economic disaster ever since they took control.

Regional countries assert that only a participatory form of government will bring about peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Source: Tehran Times