Taliban holding Westerners, including one American, in Afghanistan

Taliban authorities have detained at least nine foreigners in Kabul, including one American and multiple British citizens.


Taliban authorities have detained at least nine foreigners in Kabul, including one American and multiple British citizens, according to relatives and other sources familiar with the situation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Friday's article by The Wall Street Journal, among those being held are two journalists, a British reporter and an Irish photographer, who were in Kabul on assignment for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. The pair were released late Friday after spending more than four days in custody.

Also detained, according to the WSJ, were two Afghans: one of them a journalist and the other was the driver with whom they were working. All four were released.

"We are relieved that we can confirm the release in Kabul of the two journalists on assignment with UNHCR, and the Afghan nationals working with them," said the United Nations agency, which led efforts to free the group of reporters.

Ahead of the release, UNHCR tweeted about the situation Friday: "We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others."

The Taliban said the two Western journalists "pretended to be related to an international organization" and were detained because of incorrect paperwork. The journalists were released after they've verified the identities.

Seven other Westerners have been detained in Kabul since December. One is American, and the remaining six are British citizens, including one US permanent resident. The individuals were taken into custody and face unspecified accusations.

Most had worked in the security sector, according to the WSJ's sources with knowledge of their activities. Prior to the arrests, most were working openly in Afghanistan, with frequent official contact with Taliban leadership. Some were helping facilitate the evacuation of at-risk Afghans from the country.


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