September 28, 2023

The Taliban have released two Americans detained in Afghanistan, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday. 

The released Americans are being provided with “all appropriate assistance.” The names of the individuals were not confirmed out of respect for their privacy, according to a senior administration official. 

“They will soon be reunited with their loved ones, and we are absolutely gratified to see that,” Price said. 

The release comes on the same day the Taliban announced they are banning women from university education in Afghanistan in the most recent crackdown on Afghan women’s rights. 

Price condemned the “indefensible” decision and said the administration would use the tools at its disposal to hold the Taliban to account. The suspension would “seriously, possibly even fatally” undermine Taliban efforts for better relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world. 

The irony of the Taliban granting “a goodwill gesture” on the same day as revoking women’s rights to university access is “not lost on us,” according to Price. 

Earlier this month, Brittney Griner was released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for notorious international arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner, a 32-year-old star center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was detained at a Russian airport in February after the discovery of cannabis-derived oil cartridges in her luggage.

Upon her return to the United States, Griner vowed to use her platform to bring home other Americans detained overseas. 

“I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole,” Griner wrote in an Instagram post. 

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