American Woman Taken Hostage by the Taliban for ‘Promoting Christianity’

An American individual has been seized and is currently held hostage by the Taliban after the group attacked the premises of a Swiss nonprofit organization operating in Afghanistan.

The Taliban accused the organization of promoting Christianity.

The International Assistance Mission (IAM) verified on Friday that the American staff member and 18 others were taken into custody by the extremist faction following their assault on IAM’s facilities in Ghor, located just 400 miles away from Kabul.

“We are unaware of the circumstances that led to these incidents and have not been advised of the reason for the detention of our staff members,” the International Assistance Mission said in a statement. “The well-being and security of our colleagues are paramount to us, and we are doing everything possible to ensure their safety and secure their swift release.”

However, the Taliban officials said the hostages were taken for “propagating and promoting Christianity.”

The International Assistance Mission (IAM) verified on Friday that the American staff member and 18 others were taken into custody by the extremist faction following their assault on IAM’s facilities in Ghor, located just 400 miles away from Kabul.

The American woman’s name had not been released as of Monday.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan two years ago, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have faced heightened risks. The Taliban imposed stringent measures, including the prohibition of Afghan women from pursuing education beyond the sixth grade and engaging in public life or employment, particularly within the realm of NGOs.

Initially, three individuals, including the American citizen, were apprehended during the initial raid, with another 15 being captured ten days later. Presently, their whereabouts remain undisclosed, with their confinement occurring in Kabul, the same city that witnessed the tumultuous withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2021 under President Joe Biden’s administration.

The U.S. State Department acknowledged the detention of a U.S. citizen by the Taliban, reiterating its advisory against U.S. nationals traveling to Afghanistan due to the ongoing armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping threats.

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“Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe, and the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high,” the State Department said. “We have no further details to share at this time.”

This nonprofit organization has been active in Afghanistan for nearly six decades, operating on Christian principles with the aim of enhancing healthcare, education, and community development.

On Monday, Iran released five American prisoners as part of a meticulously arranged agreement mediated by Qatar. This historic deal also encompassed the unfreezing of approximately $6 billion in Iranian funds and the liberation of five Iranian prisoners held in the United States.

The negotiation had been in progress for several years and is now widely regarded as a significant diplomatic achievement between the two longstanding adversaries.

An American citizen who was recently freed as part of a complex exchange deal, following nearly eight years of imprisonment in Iran, is urging the Biden administration to embark on a “gamechanging global endeavor” aimed at ending the long-standing practice of the Islamic regime holding foreign nationals hostage.

Siamak Namazi, aged 51, was among five U.S. citizens released on Monday as part of an agreement that involved granting clemency to five Iranians facing charges in the United States and providing Iran with access to $6 billion in previously frozen oil revenues.

“Over the past 44 years, the Iranian regime has mastered the nasty game of caging innocent Americans and other foreign nationals, and commercializing their freedom,” he said after flying from Tehran to Doha, adding that Evin prison is a “dystopian United Nations of Hostages”.

“We must urgently channel the grievous pain of the victims of this wickedness into the kind of measures that would upend the cost-benefit calculations of Tehran’s foul business,” he continued. “For if we keep this vile path to profit free of risk and toll, this venal regime will keep treading on it. Again and again.”

“It is only if the free world finally agrees to collectively impose draconian consequences on those who use human lives as mere bargaining chips, that the Iranian regime and its ilk will be compelled to make different choices,” he added. “Sadly, until then, we can anticipate more Americans and others falling victim to state hostage-taking.”

The release of these prisoners was praised by President Joe Biden, who promptly imposed new sanctions on the hardline former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s influential intelligence ministry due to the unresolved status of Robert Levinson. Levinson, a retired FBI agent, disappeared after visiting an island off Iran’s southern coast in 2007.

In December, the Taliban released two Americans who had been detained in Afghanistan on Tuesday. One of the released individuals was Ivor Shearer, an independent filmmaker who had been held since August. The other American’s name was withheld at the request of the family. Faizullah Faizbakhsh, an Afghan freelance journalist in Kabul, who worked as Shearer’s producer, was freed from a Taliban prison in January after nearly five months, the Afghanistan Journalists Center said. Another journalist, Khaled Qaderi, was also released at the time.

Also in December, the Biden administration secured the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death” nickname.

Viktor Bout had been serving a 25-year prison sentence since 2012 following his conviction by a New York jury on charges related to conspiring to harm Americans and other offenses.

On the other hand, Brittney Griner, an Olympic gold medalist and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury center, had been incarcerated in a Russian penal colony since February. Her detention stemmed from the discovery of two vape cartridges and hashish oil in her luggage by Russian customs officials.

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By Melinda Davies
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Pithykat
Pithykat
9 months ago

Go voluntarily into a hostile country with the plan to convert their citizens from one fanatical religion to another. Why?

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