Taliban releases US engineer Mark Frerichs in prisoner swap

The Taliban stated they exchanged American engineer Mark Frerichs for the US’s releasing a senior Taliban determine on Monday.

“Immediately, Mark Frerichs was handed over to the US, and Haji Bashir was handed over to us at Kabul airport,” Taliban Overseas Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi advised a press convention in Afghanistan’s capital. Muttaqi stated the change occurred “after lengthy negotiations.”

Hours after the Taliban assertion, Frerichs’ household confirmed that he was freed.

The US Navy veteran was working in Afghanistan as a civil engineer on development tasks when he was taken hostage in January 2020.

The US has been pushing for the discharge of Frerichs after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden, who’s within the UK to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, known as Frerichs’ household on Monday morning to share the “excellent news” that his administration was capable of safe his launch, in accordance with a senior official.

A sister of Frerichs, who’s from Lombard, Illinois, thanked US authorities officers who helped safe her brother’s launch.

“I’m so completely happy to listen to that my brother is protected and on his approach dwelling to us. Our household has prayed for this every day of the greater than 31 months he has been a hostage. We by no means gave up hope that he would survive and are available dwelling safely to us,” Charlene Cakora stated.

Taliban drug kingpin launched Haji Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan tribal chief, was arrested in 2005 and charged with smuggling over $50 million price of heroin into the US.

He was convicted and sentenced to life in jail on heroin importation and distribution conspiracy prices.
Noorzai briefly addressed the information convention at a Kabul resort, alongside Muttaqi. “I’m proud to be within the capital of my nation amongst my brothers,” he stated.

Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesperson based mostly in Doha, posted an image of him again in Kabul.

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One other Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, advised the AFP information company that Noorzai held no official place within the Taliban however “offered robust help together with weapons” because the hard-line Islamist motion emerged within the Nineties.




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