Taliban Releases American Engineer Two Years After Disappearance

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The Taliban released American engineer Mark Frerichs on Monday, more than two years after he was abducted in 2020.

An engineer and U.S. Navy veteran from Lombard, Illinois, Frerichs was working in Afghanistan for roughly ten years on various development projects when he was taken, the outlet reported. The U.S. has been urging the Taliban to release him, even after the Taliban seized control of the country in August 2021.

Frerichs was exchanged at the Kabul airport for Taliban-connected Afghan tribal leader Bashir Noorzai, who has been in U.S. custody on drug charges since 2005, the New York Post reported. Noorzai was suspected of smuggling upwards of $50 million worth of heroin into the United States and Europe, the NY Post noted.

It is believed the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban, was holding Frerichs. He was able to walk onto the aircraft home on his own, and appeared in good mental and physical condition, a source told CNN. (RELATED: ‘Many Sins’: Congressman Destroys Biden A Year After Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal)

Part of his release included the potential to influence the U.S.’s view on the legitimacy of the Taliban government, which has yet to be formally recognized as the ruling party of Afghanistan, the NY Post continued. Frerich’s sister issued a statement on the release, noting that “there were some folks arguing against the deal that brought Mark home, but President Biden did what was right. He saved the life of an innocent American veteran,” CNN reported.