US swaps prisoners with Taliban — Analysis

Joe Biden traded jailed ‘drug lord’ Bashir Noorzai for naval veteran ‘hostage’ Mark Frerichs

Joe Biden announced Monday the release Mark Frerichs from US prison. Mark Frerichs disappeared in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2020 as a civilian contractor. Haji Bashir Noorzai was released by the Taliban government. He spent 17 years in American jail on heroin trafficking charges. 

“Today, we have secured the release of Mark Frerichs, and he will soon be home,”Biden made the statement in a White House release. Biden thanked the White House. “dedicated public servants across our government and other partner governments” For “years of tireless work”Frerichs was held captive by the Taliban since January 2020. We are working to release Frerichs.

Biden only mentioned the negotiation of Frerichs’ release but did not mention Noorzai being freed. “required difficult decisions, which I did not take lightly.”

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

“We welcome the release of Haji Bashir, an Afghan who spent 17 years in the US,”Muttaqi stated to reporters that this was the case. “open a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the US and Afghanistan.”

Noorzai, who was being lured into the USA on heroin trafficking charges, was arrested and sentenced in federal prison to life. The Taliban had outlawed the cultivation of poppies – from which heroin is extracted – before the US invasion in 2001, and did so again after regaining power last year.

US releases $3.5bn in Afghan cash frozen by the Taliban

US-backed governments collapsed long before American troops had left Afghanistan. The result was a chaotic evacuation that culminated in Kabul on August 31, 2021. Biden refused to recognise the Taliban government, and seized assets from the Afghan central bank. 

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