White House ‘grateful’ for Qatar’s efforts to free its nationals from Afghanistan jail
Though thankful to the Taliban, the US insisted Kabul end its practices against women and minorities in Afghanistan
By News Desk - December 23 2022

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on 24 November 2020 (Photo Credit: Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called on 22 December officials from Qatar to send Washington’s regards for the country’s efforts to release kidnapped US citizens.

Sullivan thanked the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, for his role in securing the release of two US citizens imprisoned by the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA).

Additionally, he stressed the importance of the State of Qatar as a partner to the United States and expressed his appreciation for their joint efforts in Afghanistan.

During the call, Al-Thani and Sullivan discussed shared areas of interest and objectives, as well as various issues related to their common goals.

Moreover, Sullivan discussed possible Qatari assistance to overcome the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and asked to congratulate the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on the success of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Two days ago, on 20 December, the Taliban released two US citizens and flew them to Doha, Qatar, in a move described by the movement as a “goodwill gesture.”

Senior officials from the administration of President Joe Biden expressed their joy about this step and described how they are “glad these US nationals will reunite with their families soon.”

However, they refused to publicly announce the names of those released nor the reason behind their presence in Afghanistan prior to their kidnapping.

The US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, confirmed no prisoner swap took place nor any monetary compensation was given in return.

“We have an interest in seeing Americans released from detention. That is a uniquely US interest. But beyond that, we will continue to advocate for [human rights’] interests in Afghanistan,” Price said.

His remarks targeted the Taliban’s decision to ban the higher education of girls in the country.

“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 added.

Similarly, the Taliban’s ban was condemned by Qatar, Turkiye, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, who issued separate statements against this decision.

Egypt-based Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Institute, Ahmed al-Tayeb, issued a similar statement, calling on the Taliban to reverse their “un-Islamic” course.

Tayeb elaborated that it is a fundamental Islamic right to allow women to get an education but called it “understandable” if officials need to take “necessary measures” to ensure a good learning environment.

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