Afghan journalist from Japan’s Kyodo News released from Taliban custody

KABUL, Afghanistan — Ehsan Akbari, assistant bureau chief of the Japanese news agency Kyodo News, has been released from Taliban detention, the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) announced.

Akbari, who was arrested by Taliban intelligence in Kabul nine days ago, was freed around 3 p.m. local time Thursday, Jan. 25, following a commitment, according to a statement from his family released by AFJC.

The journalist was initially summoned to the Taliban administration’s information and media center and detained on Jan. 17, AFJC reported.

Following his arrest, Taliban intelligence officers raided Akbari’s office in the Shahr-e-Naw area of downtown Kabul, confiscating work equipment including his laptop and camera.

Akbari has been part of Kyodo News’ Kabul bureau for about a year.

The AFJC, while welcoming Akbari’s release, criticized his detention as illegal from the outset, stating that any allegations against journalists should be addressed under the Law of Public Media through the Media Complaints and Violations Commission.

In a recent report, the AFJC recorded 168 incidents violating journalists’ rights in Afghanistan last year, with 61 involving the arrests of journalists and media workers.