Opinion: The Taliban should release their other detainees

On Friday, the same day the Rauf brothers were released, ‘proof of life’ video surfaced of Mark Frerichs, an American who was abducted more than two years ago and believed to have been held by the Taliban and their affiliates before they took power. across the country last August. Frerichs, a Navy veteran and civil engineer, worked on development projects in Afghanistan.

The video was obtained by The New Yorker and Frerichs’ sister confirmed his identity.

Along with Frerichs, the Taliban also detained British citizen Peter Jouvenal, a businessman and former television journalist who filmed Osama bin Laden’s first television interview for CNN in 1997. Jouvenal and I have been friends since we worked together for CNN in Afghanistan. nearly three decades ago.

He was arrested by the Taliban in mid-December, around the same time four other British citizens were also being held.
Jouvenal’s family and friends, who feared his detention was a mistake, released a statement in February saying, “He is a Muslim, knows Afghanistan better than most foreigners, is married to an Afghan ( they have three daughters) and speaks the two main languages. He is being held without charge… Prior to his arrest, he worked openly and met frequently with senior Taliban leaders.

If the Taliban sincerely want to be treated as the de facto government responsible for Afghanistan, they should release the British and American citizens they continue to detain.

The Islamic holy season of Ramadan begins around the world, which is traditionally a time of charity and reconciliation. The Taliban should use this opportunity to release the six detainees they are holding.

And if they are unwilling to do so, the British and American governments should also take advantage of the considerable aid they continue to give to humanitarian organizations in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to secure the release of their detainees.


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