US calls for immediate release of Afghan officials held by Taliban

US calls for immediate release of Afghan officials held by Taliban

The United States is calling for the immediate release of Afghan officials who are being held by the Taliban.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it “strongly condemn the unlawful arrest of several members of the Afghan government, including both civilian leaders and officers of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.”

The embassy further said, “Credible sources indicate that the Taliban have detained provincial government officials and members of the Afghan Police."

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It said that was “unacceptable” and it contradicts the Taliban’s rhetoric about ensuring leaders of recently seized areas were safe.

“We urge the immediate release of all Afghan government officials detained by the Taliban,” the Embassy said. “Additionally, we call on the Taliban to fully and earnestly engage in negotiations that end the suffering of the Afghan people and pave the way for an inclusive political settlement that benefits all Afghans.”

The statement comes as the Taliban moves closer to controlling Afghanistan, as it captures strategic areas of the nation.

The insurgents have taken about two-thirds of Afghanistan thus far, and are expected to control the entire nation within a few months.

Human Rights Watch reported earlier this month that Taliban forces have executed some detained soldiers, police and civilians they say have ties to the Afghan government.

On Thursday, the Taliban overtook Ghazni, the 10th provincial capital that fell in a week. The city is a few hours from Kabul, which U.S. intelligence says could fall within 30 days.