Taliban frees two Americans in 'goodwill gesture': US
The US confirms that the Taliban has freed two Americans who were in detention in Afghanistan.
The US State Department confirmed on Tuesday that the Taliban has freed two Americans in detention in Afghanistan.
"This, we understand, to have been a goodwill gesture on the part of the Taliban. This was not part of any swap of prisoners or detainees. There was no money that exchanged hands," US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
Price claimed that confidentiality rules forbade him from offering more details on the two Americans.
The release came on the same day that the Taliban banned women from universities, drawing strong condemnation from the United States, which warned it would impose costs on the movement.
Afghanistan's Ministry for Higher Education said that the Taliban authorities have implemented a nationwide ban on university education for females, a move that comes just three months after thousands of women sat for entrance examinations for higher education across the country.
Prior to this announcement, there was already a ban set in place on girls' secondary education, which had already caused severely limited access to higher education.
BREAKING: The Taliban have banned women from universities.— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) December 20, 2022
This is a shameful decision that violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan. The Taliban are making it clear every day that they don't respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women. pic.twitter.com/Ydf13rvsbF
"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. "But it is a question for the Taliban themselves regarding the timing of this."
Afghanistan was seized by the Taliban in August 2021 after a hasty US withdrawal. When in power, the Taliban prohibited female students in high school from attending classes and imposed other restrictions on them.
However, in late November, the Taliban decided to permit girls to sit for their final exams.
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