The State Department announced that the Taliban released two Americans that were being held in Afghanistan as a “goodwill gesture.”
“We are in a position to welcome the release of two Americans, two U.S. nationals, from detention in Afghanistan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Tuesday. Price added, “We are providing these two U.S. nationals with all appropriate assistance.”
The two U.S. nationals were reportedly being flown from Afghanistan to Qatar Tuesday, where they were expected to be reunited with their families.
TALIBAN OFFICIALLY BANS WOMEN FROM OBTAINING UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
While U.S. officials have yet to reveal the identities of the two Americans being released, Voice of America reported Tuesday that one of the Americans is believed to be Ivor Shearer, a U.S. citizen and journalist who was arrested by the Taliban along with his Afghan colleague in August while filming the site of the U.S. bombing that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Price said no money was exchanged in the prisoner release, which he characterized as a “goodwill gesture” by the Taliban.
“We understand this, or at least the Taliban characterize this to us, as a goodwill gesture,” Price said.
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But Price also noted the timing of the release, saying it came just after the U.S. condemned a Taliban announcement Tuesday that women would be banned from private and public universities.
“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.