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The spouse of a Dansville man held by the Taliban goes to Washington, D.C. for the State of the Union address



Rochester, New York – Along with their three kids, Anna Corbett, the spouse of a Dansville man who has been unfairly jailed by the Taliban for almost 19 months, will be a guest at Thursday’s State of the Union speech.

She has traveled to the nation’s capital nine times thus far to meet with representatives and testify to an effort to get her husband, Ryan Corbett, back home.

“It’s a very difficult time for our family,” Anna said. “It’s not getting any easier as the days drag on, and we continue to feel a lot of concern for Ryan.”

In Dansville, the couple tied the knot in 2004. In 2010, they relocated to Afghanistan together with their kids. Before launching his consulting firm in 2017, Ryan was employed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But when the Taliban gained over in 2021, the family was forced to flee.

“He didn’t want to let down his staff, and so many people were depending on that work that was happening,” explained Anna. “So, he ran the business at a distance, but he needed to check in and pay his staff and do some training as well for his employees and for other Afghans. He returned in January of 2022, a very short trip. He renewed the visa with no difficulty. But then when he returned in August of 2022, that’s when he ended up being detained.”

Ryan has only spoken to Anna four times since, at which time she claims he is not well.

“Those calls are really difficult,” she said. “They’re so short and when you’re so close to someone and then all of a sudden you just have a few minutes to try to connect and catch up, it’s very challenging. I try to encourage him on those calls and just tell him what I’m doing and what the government is doing.”

Additionally, Anna was able to let Ryan know that she would be at the State of the Union speech.

“The children have actually written letters to the president, and they hope to hand those to him at the State of the Union address,” she said. “And they are expressing their deep sadness, their frustration, and asking for the president to please bring Ryan home.”

Afghanistan is under a “Level 4—Do Not Travel” advice from the U.S. Department of State because of the country’s high danger of terrorism, kidnapping, criminality, and unlawful detention.

Representative Claudia Tenney of Texas, who invited Anna to the meeting on Thursday, submitted a House resolution in January demanding Ryan’s release. As of right now, the bill has seventy bipartisan co-sponsors.

“I hope it makes a difference because it’s not just our family, it’s people all over the US saying, ‘We need to bring Ryan home. This is not right,'” Anna said. “And I hope that it increases pressure and that it accelerates the timeline on this because it’s been now almost 19 months.”