The Taliban on Monday freed an American engineer who was abducted two years ago as part of a prisoner swap, an official said. Mark Frerichs, a U.S. Navy veteran from Lombard, Illinois, had worked on development projects in Afghanistan for a decade before his capture in February 2020. Speaking at a news conference in Kabul, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi announced that Frerichs had been handed over at the city’s airport in exchange for Bashir Noorzai—an Afghan tribal leader with ties to the Taliban. Noorzai had been held by U.S. authorities since 2005 after being arrested and then convicted of smuggling over $50 million worth of heroin into America and Europe. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ready to solve problems by negotiation with all including the United States,” Muttaqi said, referring to the Taliban.
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