Photo: Reza Shahir FB/AFJC

Family of kidnapped former journalist concerned about his safety

The family of former journalist Reza Shahir, who has been missing since last Wednesday, has expressed concerns about his fate.

Shahir’s brother told KabulNow that his family was informed that he was taken off a vehicle heading for Kabul from Herat. “Armed men with their faces covered took him away near Zabul,” he said. The driver has said the men were Taliban agents, he added.

Shahir’s family says he has previously been detained and tortured by the Taliban on two occasions.

Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC), an Afghan media rights organisation, said in a statement on Monday that Shahir has been detained by the Taliban and taken to unknown location.

AFJC has called on the Taliban to respect the rights of journalists.

Since returning to power, the Taliban has severely restricted free speech and journalists have been subjected to intimidation, arrest and torture.

In January, the Taliban detained the Afghanistan-born French journalist, Mortaza Behboudi. Despite international calls, the group has refused to release him.