Taliban Confirm 2 Americans Among Foreign Detainees in Afghanistan 

Islamabad — The Taliban government in Afghanistan confirmed Sunday that they had detained “a number of foreign citizens, including two Americans” for allegedly violating their laws.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief Taliban spokesperson, told the state-run Afghan radio they had informed the United States about the detention of its citizens. He did not provide any additional details, nor did he reveal the nationalities of the other foreign detainees.

Relatives and U.S. officials have identified one of the Americans in custody as Ryan Corbett, while the identity of the second person was not disclosed.


“Two Americans are currently imprisoned along with other foreign nationals. The reasons for their visit are not clear, but whatever the reasons, anyone who visits Afghanistan must abide by its laws. Anyone obtaining an Afghan visa agrees to follow our laws,” Mujahid said while talking separately to the privately run local TOLO news channel.

This is the first time the Taliban has publicly acknowledged the detention of two American nationals. So far, they had only reported the arrest of Corbett.

He was taken into custody in August 2022, a year after the Islamist group regained power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S.-led Western troops after nearly 20 years of war with the then-insurgent Taliban.

Corbett’s family has lately stepped-up calls for President Joe Biden’s administration to do more to secure his safe and early release.

According to CNN, Corbett was able to call his wife Anna and their three children last week for the fifth time since his detention.

“It was a disturbing call,” Anna Corbett told the U.S. media outlet Thursday. “It was hard to hear Ryan losing hope. He’s been held now almost 600 days and he had a change in his mindset about it,” she told the U.S. news network.

Anna said that Corbett’s physical health had been deteriorating, “and now that his mental health is going down, it’s just super scary for the kids and I.”

The U.S. State Department spokesperson said Thursday that it was working to secure the release of all American citizens “wrongfully detained” abroad.

Mathew Miller told reporters he “cannot imagine the pain” the families were “going through, and the grief that they’re suffering, and how difficult it must be knowing that their loved one is going through such a tragic hardship.”

He said that U.S. officials in meetings with Taliban representatives had “continually pressed” them to release all American detainees immediately and unconditionally.

“We have made clear to the Taliban that these detentions are a significant obstacle to positive engagement, and we will continue to do that. We are using every lever we can to try to bring Ryan and these other wrongfully detained Americans home from Afghanistan,” he added.

Corbett and his family had lived in Afghanistan for years before being evacuated during the August 2021 Taliban takeover. He ran and supervised humanitarian projects for nongovernmental organizations, focusing on health and education.

Corbett returned to Afghanistan twice in 2022 and was detained by the Taliban on his second trip but has not been charged with any crimes, according to his family.

“The Biden administration has done little to secure Ryan’s release despite continued reports of his deteriorating health while held in deplorable conditions,” U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said in a March 27 statement.

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