US swaps prisoners with Taliban — RT World News

Joe Biden trades jailed ‘drug lord’ Bashir Noorzai for ‘hostage’ Navy veteran Mark Frerichs

US President Joe Biden on Monday announced the release of Mark Frerichs, a US Navy veteran who went missing in Kabul in 2020 while working as a civilian contractor. Meanwhile, the Taliban government in Afghanistan announced the return of Haji Bashir Noorzai, who spent 17 years in prison in the US for heroin trafficking.

“Today, we secured the release of Mark Frerichs and he will be home soon,” Biden said in a statement published by the White House. He thanks “Dedicated public servants in our government and other partner governments” Because “Years of tireless work” to secure the release of Frerichs, who has been held by the Taliban since January 2020.

Biden didn’t mention Noorzai’s release, only said he was in talks about Frerichs’ release “Ask for tough decisions, which I didn’t take lightly.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi announced that Frerichs and Noorzai had been exchanged at Kabul International Airport.

“We welcome the release of Haji Bashir, an Afghan who has lived for 17 years in the US,” Muttaqi told reporters, adding that this will “Opens a new chapter in the US-Afghan bilateral relationship.”

Noorzai was lured to the US, arrested for heroin trafficking, and sentenced to life in federal prison in 2005. The Taliban outlawed the cultivation of poppies – where heroin is extracted – before the invasion. of the United States in 2001, and did the same again after regaining power last year.

The US-backed government collapsed even before the last American soldiers left Afghanistan, triggering a frenzied evacuation from the airport in Kabul that ended on August 31, 2021. Biden denied publicity. accept the Taliban government and seize Afghan property. central bank.

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