Family begs for the return of Americans captured by the Taliban


An American relative in which a Taliban terrorist group has been captured has called on the Biden administration to secure his release.

Mark Frerichs was kidnapped by the Taliban in January 2020 while working as a contractor in Afghanistan.

The Taliban took over the country this month after the United States withdrew most of its troops and Afghan troops routed.

Frerich’s family was in the White House this week, pressured President Joe Biden to take action.

“I came to Washington to plead with President Biden to save his brother’s life. He has the power to approve the trade to safely bring Mark home. To do that, the President “I need your help,” says the prisoner’s sister, Shirley Kakora. Said Newsweek.

She and others say one option is to replace Basi Moorezai, who has been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to life imprisonment in New Hampshire, for Frerich.

“I don’t like the idea of ​​seeing drug traffickers free, but that’s what the Taliban want,” Kakora said. “He has been in jail here for 16 years. If my brother returns to us safely by sending him home, I will support it. The Biden administration will support this trade. If not, they should instead tell us what they are ready to do. “

Kakora Added The family did not question Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, but wondered why the president “did not use leverage” to free their loved ones, to the Daily Herald.

“We have begged government officials in this administration to prioritize Mark’s freedom,” Kakora said. “I’ve heard government officials patiently say in the last administration, but they didn’t let go to release my brother. We’ve heard the same from this administration. They Continued to say we have time, they had leverage. Well, they didn’t. “

The State Department said in an email that Zalmay Khalilzad, a special representative of the Afghan reconciliation, “continues to push the release of the Taliban or Mark Frerichs and continues to raise his position in senior-level involvement in Doha and Islamabad.” I told the Epoch Times.

“We put Mark Frerichs’ safety first and will not quit his job until he returns to his family safely. The Executive Secretary said that the safe and secure return of Americans who were illegally detained or held hostage is the world. We continue to make this a top priority for many interlocutors, including Tullivan, “the authorities added.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

The Biden administration is also under pressure from parliamentary Democrats to release Frerich.

Epoch Times Photo
President Joe Biden speaks of the ongoing US military evacuation efforts in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington on August 20, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)

Senators Tammy Duckworth (Illinois) and Dick Durbin (Illinois) will send a letter to Biden this week to convene an emergency meeting at the White House National Security Council to develop a course of action that will lead to Tullivan. I asked. Release the prisoner.

“Our attention and energy must be devoted to pushing all reasonable steps to ensure that Mr Frerich returns safely to his family in the United States,” they say. increase. I have written..

Khalilzad said earlier this month that the administration wanted Frerich to return home safely.

“I and my colleagues talk to my family, and I repeat it and keep raising it with the Taliban whenever I see them. Also influential in the Taliban, such as Pakistan and Qatar. It also raises issues with the countries. “

Khalilzad refused to share the details of the negotiations and said US officials were unaware of the kidnapping when he signed an agreement with the Taliban during the Trump administration.

Taliban officials told US counterparts that they wanted to release Khalilzad but did not want to exchange prisoners, officials said.

“Talib wants normality in terms of their relationship with us if they want to release their prisoners, if they want to remove them from the list. There are many problems they want, so we We will continue to leverage and bear all of them to ensure the release of the mark, the sooner the better, “he said.

Zachary Stieber

Zachary Stieber covers US news, including politics and proceedings. He started in The Epoch Times as a metro reporter for New York City.