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Taliban prevents Iranian photojournalist from leaving Afghanistan

An Iranian photojournalist, Mohammad Hossein Velayati, who was arrested by the Taliban and later released, has been prohibited from leaving Afghanistan, Iranian Mehr News Agency reported Saturday.

Velayati, who worked for the Iranian Tasnim News Agency, was arrested by Taliban authorities at Kabul airport on August 19. The reason for his arrest has not been made public.

The Taliban handed Velayati over to the Iranian embassy in Kabul on Friday night.

Mehr news agency reported that the Taliban prevented Velayati from leaving Afghanistan because his case is still under investigation.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) has welcomed Velayati’s release but has urged the Taliban to lift the ban on his exit and allow him to leave Afghanistan without any conditions.

The Taliban have recently arrested several journalists and media workers in Afghanistan.

According to the AFJC report, the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) detained at least 13 journalists and media workers in various provinces of Afghanistan in the past month, including 10 who are still in Taliban prison.

The reason for the arrest of all these journalists is not clear, and Taliban officials have not said anything in this regard.