Well-known Afghan writer and media activist Rahnaward Zaryab has died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Kabul. He was 76.
Zaryab was hospitalized recently after testing positive for the coronavirus and passed away early on December 11, his colleague Lotfullah Najafizada said on Twitter.
Zaryab is regarded as the most influential contemporary writer in Afghanistan and had been working as editor in chief of Tolo TV, the country's largest broadcaster.
"Professor Rahnaward Zaryab spent many years of his life as a writer, novelist, and media and cultural activist of the country and left a legacy behind. His death is a big loss in the field of literature and culture in the country," President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Born in the Rika Khana neighborhood of Kabul in 1944, Zaryab graduated from Kabul University with a degree in journalism. He undertook postgraduate studies in New Zealand and Wales.
Zaryab emigrated to France in the 1990s but returned to Kabul after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
He has written more than 100 short stories, several novels, and the script of the Afghan movie Akhtar-e-Maskhara (The Ridiculous Akhtar).
His books and writings made him famous beyond Afghanistan’s borders in Iran, Tajikistan, and India.
Zaryab's novel Char Gerd Qala Gashtum (Walked Around The Castle Four Times) won the best author award in Iran in 2016.