Biden welcomed the release of Mark Frerichs, an engineer kidnapped by the Taliban

Biden welcomed the release of Mark Frerichs, an engineer kidnapped by the Taliban

President Joe Biden welcomed the release of Mark Frerichs, the American engineer released by the Taliban on Monday in exchange for Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan tribal leader with ties to the Taliban.

Noorzai had been in U.S. custody since 2005 on drug-related charges.

The president stressed that Frerichs’ release was the result of years of work and added that he had spoken with his family.

“Our priority now is to make sure Mark returns healthy and unharmed and is given the conditions and time he needs to return to society,” Biden said. – We still have a lot of work to do on many other such cases, but Mark’s release demonstrates our continued commitment to them.”

Frerichs is an engineer and Navy veteran from Lombard, Ill. He worked for ten years in Afghanistan on development projects for the country. He was kidnapped in February 2020.

Noorzai was detained in 2005 on suspicion of smuggling more than $50 million worth of heroin into the United States and Europe.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken thanked State Department officials and all national security professionals, as well as U.S. partners in Qatar.

“I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans around the world,” Blinken said in a statement posted on the State Department website Monday. – We will work tirelessly to secure the release of Americans held hostage or unjustly detained. Our commitment to bringing Mark home has never diminished, and it will never diminish for Americans held captive around the world. His release is a testament to that priority and to our 24/7 work to reunite our citizens with their loved ones.”