Taliban Releases 2 Americans in 'Goodwill Gesture'

They were freed on same day group banned women from universities
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 9:21 PM CST
Taliban Frees 2 Detained Americans
A Taliban fighter poses for a photo during a celebration marking the first anniversary of the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Two Americans were freed by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers Tuesday in what authorities described as a "goodwill gesture." CNN reports that one of the two Americans is independent filmmaker Ivor Shearer, who was arrested in August while filming near where a drone killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. Officials said the two former prisoners were reunited with their families after they arrived in Qatar on Tuesday, reports the Washington Post. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the release of the two Americans was not part of a prisoner exchange and the Taliban wasn't paid to free the prisoners, the New York Times reports.

Price said the irony of the Americans being released on the same day that the Taliban announced that women had been banned from universities "is not lost on us," the Post reports. The group "should expect that this decision, which is in contravention to the commitments they have made repeatedly and publicly to their own people, will carry costs," he said. The State Department didn't comment on whether the prisoners may have been released to temper Western anger at the Taliban's latest attack on women's rights. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it didn't know whether Faizullah Faizbakhsh, the Afghan producer arrested with Shearer in August, is still being held. (Read more Taliban stories.)

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