Taliban releases 2 Americans detained in Afghanistan

Photo: Reuters

Taliban on Tuesday released two American nationals in what appeared to be a goodwill gesture, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who indicated that the militants were holding other US citizens.

Price declined to identify the freed Americans, and he said they were not released as “part of any swap of prisoners or detainees. There was no money that changed hands.”

“We are providing these two US nationals with all appropriate assistance. They will soon be reunited with their loved ones and we are absolutely gratified to see that,” he said at a State Department press conference.

“We understand this, or at least the Taliban characterized this to us, as a goodwill gesture,” said Price.

The pair was released three months after the Taliban freed Mark Frerichs, an American engineer, in an exchange for Bashir Noorzai, a convicted drug smuggler held by the US since 2005 and granted clemency by US President Joe Biden.

Asked if there were other Americans being detained in Afghanistan, Price indicated there were.

“We continue to raise with the Taliban the need for the immediate release of any of US nationals detained in Afghanistan, but I’m not in a position to offer specifics,” he said.