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An American contractor held hostage in Afghanistan for greater than two years has been launched in alternate for a convicted Taliban drug lord jailed within the US, the White Home mentioned Monday, asserting a uncommon success in US-Taliban talks for the reason that militant group took energy just a little greater than a 12 months in the past

Mark Frerichs (pictured), a Navy veteran who had spent greater than a decade in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, was kidnapped in January 2020 and is believed to have been held since then by the Taliban-linked Haqqani community. He was traded for Bashir Noorzai, a Taliban affiliate convicted in a heroin trafficking conspiracy who had spent 17 years behind bars earlier than his launch Monday.

The alternate is among the most important prisoner swaps to happen beneath the Biden administration, coming 5 months after a take care of Russia that introduced house Marine veteran Trevor Reed. Although his case has obtained much less public consideration than these of another People held overseas, together with WNBA star Brittney Griner and company safety govt Paul Whelan — who’re each held in Russia and whose relations met with President Joe Biden on Friday — US officers mentioned the deal for Frerichs was the results of months of quiet negotiations.

These discussions gained new momentum in June when Biden agreed to grant Noorzai reduction from his life sentence, setting the stage for what one administration official described as a “very slender window of alternative this month” to finish the deal.

Biden mentioned in a press release launched by the White Home, “Bringing the negotiations that led to Mark’s freedom to a profitable decision required troublesome choices, which I didn’t take flippantly.”

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