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US Swaps Prisoners with Taliban
By Staff, Agencies
US President Joe Biden on Monday announced the release of Mark Frerichs, a US Navy veteran who disappeared in Kabul in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Taliban government of Afghanistan reported the return of Haji Bashir Noorzai, who spent 17 years in American prison.
“Today, we have secured the release of Mark Frerichs, and he will soon be home,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. He thanked “dedicated public servants across our government and other partner governments” for “years of tireless work” to secure the release of Frerichs, who had been in Taliban captivity since January 2020.
Biden did not mention the release of Noorzai, only that negotiating the release of Frerichs “required difficult decisions, which I did not take lightly.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi announced that Frerichs and Noorzai were exchanged at Kabul International Airport.
“We welcome the release of Haji Bashir, an Afghan who spent 17 years in the US,” Muttaqi told reporters, adding that this would “open a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the US and Afghanistan.”