Congressional Members Advocate for Release of Western NY Man from Taliban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ryan Corbett, a man from Western New York, has been wrongfully detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan for more than 500 days. His family and members of Congress are working to release him and return home. 

The last time the family heard from Corbett was around Christmas. The family said they’ve only had a few minutes to speak with him over the phone. He asked about the family and shares that he is not doing well being held. Members of congress said they’re doing everything they can to bring him home.  

“It has been extremely difficult for our family,” said Anna Corbet, wife of Ryan Corbett.  

For more than 500 days, Corbett’s wife Anna and their three children, have been left worried and wondering why Corbett was taken captive by the Taliban back in August 2022.  

“I miss my dad so much and I worry about him everyday,” said Ketsia Corbett, Ryan Corbett’s daughter.  

Corbett and his family, who are from the Rochester, NY area, lived and worked in Afghanistan for several years before they left upon the Taliban’s reemergence in August of 2021. Corbett worked for several international NGOs and created Bloom Afghanistan, a social enterprise strengthening Afghanistan’s private sector. He returned to Afghanistan in 2022 to pay and train his staff but that’s when the worst happened.  

“Ryan was detained by the Taliban on August 10, 2022 for the crime of being an American,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney (R- NY). “This after dedicating over a decade of life including the family to helping the Afghan people by assisting them in a self-sustaining local economy.” 

Members said Corbett is being held in a small basement cell with limited access to a bathroom, sunlight, nutrition and medical care.  

“There are reports from now freed individuals who were detained with Ryan that state Ryan is in poor health with discolored extremities, fainting spells, seizures and suffering from worsening vision,” said Rep. Tenney.  

The family shared the latest image of Corbett. They said Qatari representatives were able to meet with him in person this past Christmas. 

“This was very traumatic for the kids and I to receive this because he’s changed so much and he’s aged a lot and lost a lot of weight,” said Anna Corbett.  

Congressional members are supporting a resolution that calls on Corbett’s release and return home.   

“We have Ryan Corbett held hostage with no charges pressed against him and several other Americans,” said Rep. Dan Meuser (R- PA).   

His family said they’re thankful for the support and hope he comes home soon.  

“He is not in good health and I’m concerned for his life and I hope with this resolution the support that is growing on the Hill will demonstrate to everyone how important it is to bring Ryan home,” said Anna Corbett.  

The State Department lists Corbett as wrongfully detained. Upstate New York Congresswoman Tenney is spearheading the resolution. She said it has bipartisan support.