Afghanistan’s Taliban freed on Monday American engineer Mark Frerichs in trade for an Afghan tribal chief linked to the Taliban who the US had held on medicine costs since 2005, the group’s appearing international minister mentioned.
Frerichs was exchanged on the airport within the capital, Kabul, with Bashir Noorzai, appearing international minister Amir Khan Muttaqi instructed a information convention within the metropolis.
Noorzai was detained by the US on suspicion of smuggling greater than $50 million price of heroin into the US and Europe.
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“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is able to clear up issues by negotiation with all together with the US,” Muttaqi mentioned, referring to the Taliban.
Frerichs is an engineer and U.S. Navy veteran from Lombard, Illinois, who labored in Afghanistan for a decade on growth initiatives. He was kidnapped in February 2020.
The US has no official illustration in Afghanistan and U.S. authorities officers elsewhere weren’t instantly accessible for remark.
The US has been pushing for the discharge of Frerichs, together with after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, as U.S.-led international forces have been withdrawing.
U.S. officers have mentioned his case would affect their view on the legitimacy of a Taliban-led authorities. No international authorities has formally recognised the Taliban, partly as a result of group’s restriction of most ladies from schooling.
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Noorzai briefly addressed the information convention at a Kabul resort, alongside Muttaqi and the Taliban’s appearing deputy prime ministers.
“I’m proud to be within the capital of my nation amongst my brothers,” he mentioned.
The tribal chief had longstanding ties to the Taliban.
Noorzai’s lawyer had denied his consumer was a drug seller and argued the fees must be dismissed as a result of U.S. authorities officers duped him into believing he wouldn’t be arrested.