Joe Biden traded jailed ‘drug lord’ Bashir Noorzai for naval veteran ‘hostage’ Mark Frerichs
US President Joe Biden on Monday introduced the discharge of Mark Frerichs, a US Navy veteran who disappeared in Kabul in 2020 whereas working as a civilian contractor. In the meantime, the Taliban authorities of Afghanistan reported the return of Haji Bashir Noorzai, who spent 17 years in American jail on prices of heroin trafficking.
“In the present day, we have now secured the discharge of Mark Frerichs, and he’ll quickly be residence,” Biden stated in a assertion launched by the White Home. He thanked “devoted public servants throughout our authorities and different associate governments” for “years of tireless work” to safe the discharge of Frerichs, who had been in Taliban captivity since January 2020.
Biden didn’t point out the discharge of Noorzai, solely that negotiating the discharge of Frerichs “required tough selections, which I didn’t take frivolously.”
In the meantime, the Taliban’s performing International Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi introduced that Frerichs and Noorzai have been exchanged at Kabul Worldwide Airport.
“We welcome the discharge of Haji Bashir, an Afghan who spent 17 years within the US,” Muttaqi informed reporters, including that this is able to “open a brand new chapter within the bilateral relations between the US and Afghanistan.”
Noorzai was lured to the US, arrested on prices of heroin trafficking, and sentenced to life in federal jail in 2005. The Taliban had outlawed the cultivation of poppies – from which heroin is extracted – earlier than the US invasion in 2001, and did so once more after regaining energy final yr.
The US-backed authorities collapsed even earlier than the final American troops have been out of Afghanistan, inflicting a frenzied evacuation from the airport in Kabul that ended on August 31, 2021. Biden has refused to acknowledge the Taliban authorities and has seized the belongings of the Afghan central financial institution.
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