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U.S. Releases Taliban Prisoner in Exchange for American Mark Frerichs

HeadlineSep 20, 2022

A U.S. engineer who had been held in Afghanistan since 2020 has been freed in a prisoner swap. The Taliban agreed to release Mark Frerichs in exchange for Haji Bashir Noorzai, who was convicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges in 2008. Noorzai, who had been sentenced to life in prison, was a key financial backer of the Taliban in the 1990s. Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on Monday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “I want the families of Americans who are being arbitrarily detained or held hostage anywhere in the world to know that our commitment to them to bringing their loved ones home is resolute, and we will relentlessly continue to focus on doing just that.”

In related news, President Biden met Friday at the White House with the families of two U.S. citizens imprisoned in Russia: basketball superstar Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. It was Biden’s first meeting with the families.

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