Taliban free two Americans as part of ‘goodwill’ gesture, says US

The Taliban have freed two Americans as part of a goodwill gesture, the US State Department said.

Speaking to the reporters on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price, however, refused to reveal details on the two Americans due to confidentiality rules.

“This, we understand, to have been a goodwill gesture on the part of the Taliban. This was not part of any swap of prisoners or detainees. There was no money that exchanged hands,” he said.

Even though no US official disclosed the identities of the Americans, CNN reported that one of them was Ivor Shearer, a filmmaker arrested in August with his Afghan producer — whose fate is unclear — while filming the site of a US drone attack that killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

According to AFP news agency, the two Americans were released to Qatar, which has been mediating American interests in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over.

The release of the US citizens came on the same day the Taliban banned women from accessing universities.

The Taliban authorities on Tuesday in a letter sent to all public and private colleges announced that the ministry puts an indefinite ban on Afghan girls attending educational institutions. 

 Price noted this “irony” saying that the Biden administration condemns the decision by the organisation.

“The irony of them granting us a goodwill gesture on a day where they undertake a gesture like this to the Afghan people, it’s not lost on us.” Price said.

“But it is a question for the Taliban themselves regarding the timing of this.”

The United States has been critical of the Taliban’s human rights record after they stormed back to power last year following President Joe Biden’s decision to pull out US troops.

(With inputs from agencies)

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