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United States Secures Release Of Afghan-American Naval Reservist Held By Taliban

After being held for 105 days by the Taliban, the Biden administration has secured the release of an Afghan-American Naval reservist.


Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan
Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan © Associated Press & Safi Rauf

27-year-old Safi Rauf, a former Afghan refugee, and his brother Anees Khalil, a green card holder, were taken prisoner by the Taliban on 18 December 2021.


Safi Rauf, co-founder of the Human First Coalition humanitarian agency had been working to help evacuate civilians who were stranded in Kabul when the Taliban took over the city in August last year.



Their release came after a long three months of intense negotiations between the Taliban and senior figures within the Biden administration.


Mr Rauf released a statement through Human First thanking the US, British, and Qatari Governments, and "countless friends in the country, in the region, and all over the world."


Mr Rauf said, "Our understanding is that this exceptionally unfortunate situation arose due to a misunderstanding, we did nothing wrong."


"I hope we can continue to advocate for and seek ways to serve the Afghan people in this critical time of need in Afghanistan."


State Department spokesman Ned Price said the two brothers had been "unjustly detained" in Afghanistan and were in Qatar before being flown back to the United States.



Mr Price said in a statement, "We are grateful for the efforts of all those who worked to secure their release but more work remains."


"Unjustly holding Americans captive is always unacceptable, and we will not stop until every American who is being unjustly held against their will is able to hug their families once again."


The Taliban is still holding another US Naval veteran Mark Frerichs, who was kidnapped in February 2020.


Women In Afghanistan Have Been Banned From Flying Without A Male Chaperone By The Taliban.