Ryan Corbett awoke hungry this morning in Afghanistan, in a cramped, unheated basement cell, dank and dark, his legs swollen and his health precarious, a prisoner of the Taliban.
At some point today, he will be allowed to use the outhouse. At some point this month, he will be allowed out into the sunshine.
For 20 minutes.
If he’s still alive.
Ryan Corbett is an American, an American hostage, held by brutal savages, seemingly forgotten by his country and its government. He has languished in captivity since August of 2022, losing weight and hope, one of several westerners grabbed up as bargaining chips by thugs who whip little girls for learning how to read.
Normally, he would live down the road from me, or down the road from you. In rural upstate New York, the exact location kept quiet for reasons I can’t quite grasp. He moved back here when the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, ending 10 years there with his wife and their kids, trying to do good, trying to help.
His dad was a preacher, and his granddad, and his great-granddad, and while Ryan Corbett isn’t a preacher, he’s a believer, and when the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Ryan Corbett took the answer to heart.
So when he thought the coast was clear, he got a visa from what passes for the government of Afghanistan and went back to help. He set up a little business, making microloans to help people work out of poverty. Money to buy a cow or dig a well or go to barber school. Money locals would borrow and pay back and which would be recycled into new lives and new hope.
And then they took him.
And all these months they’ve kept him.
The Taliban. The filthy, savage Taliban.
They snatched up several westerners, and wheeled and dealed to turn most of them loose.
But America is the sugar daddy, and Ryan Corbett is the bargaining chip, and that’s a bad place to be.
They want $10 billion for him, and they want Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man turned loose from Gitmo, and they want some other terrorists freed. See, that’s the thing about giving away the house to get a WNBA player turned loose, and some dual-nationals out of Iran, it turns out everybody wants a sweetheart deal, and taking Americans hostage becomes a growth industry.
Policies have consequences, and that means Ryan Corbett’s kids might lose their dad.
Why haven’t you heard anything about this? Because the government wants it kept quiet. Some names you’re supposed to say, I guess, and some names you’re not. And Ryan Corbett is a not. He didn’t just get snatched, he got disappeared.
And so he sits languishing, his health in free fall, facing no charges, indefinitely held, his family increasingly frantic.
Which is where you come in.
When the government and the Taliban want things kept in the dark, it’s a good idea to turn on the lights. All the lights. As bright as they can be. People have to know about Ryan Corbett. The world has to know about Ryan Corbett. We’ve got to bang the drums, we’ve got to turn up the heat, we’ve got to help this Samaritan who himself now lies crumpled on the side of the road.
And “we” means “you.” Please share this column. Go to and direct others to go to the website www.FreeRyanCorbett.com. Use the hashtag #FreeRyanCorbett. Write letters to your congressional representative and to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and to Joe Biden. Email your local television station and your favorite television network and ask them to report on Ryan Corbett. Reach out to the radio shows you listen to, ask them to talk about him.
Make him and his family a matter of prayer, in your home and in your church.
And do it now. Build and sustain public momentum in support of Ryan Corbett. Pressure our president and our government to get him freed. Other countries have gotten their hostages back; so can we. So must we.
Because Ryan Corbett woke up hungry in a frigid basement cell this morning, a prisoner of the Taliban.
And if we don’t get him home soon, and get him adequate medical care and nourishment, one morning soon, he won’t wake up.
He’ll be dead.
And our government’s inaction will be to blame.