Help Free A New Yorker Being Held Hostage In Afghanistan

A New York husband and father has been held hostage in Afghanistan for the past 15 months.

Ryan Corbett, 40, is a resident of Dansville, New York in the Rochester region. He and his family moved to Afghanistan in January 2010. When they moved, Corbett’s wife, Anna, was pregnant with the couple’s third child. The Corbetts lived in Kabul and Jalalabad until the Taliban’s 2021 reemergence. Corbett worked for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), helping to bolster educational efforts and lifesaving services. Later, he started a social enterprise business called Bloom Afghanistan.

Ryan Corbett returned to Afghanistan in January 2022 to renew his business visa and ensure that his staff was paid and trained. The Afghan officials secured Corbett a 12-month visa and acknowledged how helpful his business ventures were. When Corbett again returned to Afghanistan in 2022, however, the Taliban detained him and a colleague on trumped-up charges of proselytizing Christianity. It is likely that the Taliban simply wished to use Corbett as a political bargaining chip.

Since Corbett’s imprisonment, he has been held prisoner in a basement cell with no access to medical care. His family has had almost no contact with him, and the limited information that is available suggests that his health is declining. According to the Wall Street Journal, in September, “the State Department designated Corbett [as] wrongfully detained, which unlocks diplomatic and intelligence resources across the highest levels of government to secure the release of U.S. citizens through swaps or other means.” To date, however, little progress has been made.

According to Politico, Anna Corbett “is pleased with the efforts of both New York senators and her representative to elevate her husband’s case… What she’s unhappy about is the lack of high-level attention from the White House and Foggy Bottom.” She has described her husband’s imprisonment as “‘15 months of trauma that’s nonstop.’” During this extraordinarily difficult time, Anna states that she has leaned on the Lord: “‘If I did not have [faith], I would have no hope because I can just pray and trust that God is working,’ she said. “‘I just want God to deliver him now.’”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms invites our brothers and sisters in Christ across the state of New York to join the Corbett family in praying for Ryan Corbett’s release. We also invite all New Yorkers to entreat the Biden administration to intensify its efforts to free Ryan. Please write to the White House and other elected officials on Ryan’s behalf.