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Taliban releases 2 Americans held in Afghanistan

Two Americans detained in Afghanistan were released by the Taliban on Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

This was not a prisoner swap, Price told reporters. The citizens, whose identities have not been made public, were flown from Kabul to Doha, Qatar, NBC News reports, and Price said they are being provided "with all appropriate assistance."

The Taliban also announced on Tuesday that women are banned from private and public universities in Afghanistan. "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, but it is a question for the Taliban themselves regarding the timing of this," Price said. The U.S. "condemns in strongest terms the Taliban's indefensible decision to ban women from universities, girls from secondary schools."

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, women were banned from getting an education. Since the Taliban took over the government again in August 2021, girls have been prohibited from attending secondary schools, and women have been blocked from most employment opportunities.