Taliban free two Americans in 'goodwill gesture': US

Release comes on day women were banned from universities in Afghanistan


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Published: Wed 21 Dec 2022, 12:11 AM

The Taliban have freed two Americans in detention in Afghanistan, the State Department said Tuesday, on the same day that the militant regime faced condemnation for banning women at universities.

"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," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

Price said that confidentiality rules forbade him from offering more details on the two Americans.

The release came on the same day that the Taliban banned women from universities, drawing strong condemnation from the United States, which warned it would impose costs on the Islamist militants.

"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 repeatedly condemned the Taliban's track record since the militants swept back to power last year when President Joe Biden pulled out US troops, leading the two-decade-old Western-backed government to collapse.

But the Biden administration said that the Taliban were largely helpful during the takeover on letting out US citizens.

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