Still, from what little information there is available, Naqshbandi appears to be alive, at least. On Friday, Agence France Presse reported that he called his father the day before “to say his life was in danger and he was still with the Taliban,” and yesterday AFP reported, citing the Pajhwok Afghan News agency, “that a purported Taliban spokesman had said the group was ready to negotiate with the government” over Naqshbandi’s release.

“I know that the president’s office is taking some sort of action to secure his release,” says Joshua Gross, a spokesperson for the Afghan embassy in Washington, “because he is an Afghan citizen, and one whom we want to protect like any other Afghan citizen who is in danger.”

Gross adds that “hopefully his release will be secured in the near future.”

“He’s thoughtful, resourceful, and decent,” says Kuwayama, “and I can’t think of a greater tragedy for Afghanistan than losing someone like him.”

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Edward B. Colby was a writer at CJR Daily.