Relations of an American being held captive the Taliban terrorist group is looking on the Biden administration to safe his launch.
Mark Frerichs was kidnapped by the Taliban in January of 2020 whereas working as a contractor in Afghanistan.
The Taliban took over the nation this month after the USA pulled out most of its troops and Afghan forces had been routed.
Frerichs’ household was on the White Home this week to press President Joe Biden to take motion.
“I got here to Washington to plead for President Biden to avoid wasting my brother’s life. He has the ability to approve the commerce that may carry Mark house safely. We’d like the President’s assist to make that occur,” Charlene Cakora, the captive’s sister, told Newsweek.
She and others say one possibility is exchanging Bashi Moorzai, who was convicted on drug trafficking costs and is serving a life sentence in New Hampshire, for Frerichs.
“We don’t like the concept of seeing a drug trafficker go free, however that’s who the Taliban desires,” Cakora stated. “He’s been in jail right here for 16 years. If sending him house will get my brother again safely to us, I help it. If the Biden Administration is just not ready to help this commerce, then they should inform us what they’re ready to do as an alternative.”
Cakora added to the Day by day Herald that the household doesn’t query Biden’s choice to withdraw from Afghanistan, however questioned why the president “didn’t use any leverage” to get their cherished one launched.
“We now have been begging authorities officers on this administration to make Mark’s freedom a precedence,” Cakora stated. “We listened to authorities individuals over the past administration telling us to be affected person—however they by no means lifted a finger to free my brother. We now have been listening to the identical issues from this administration. They saved telling us that they had time, that they had leverage. Effectively, they didn’t.”
The State Division advised The Epoch Occasions through e mail that Zalmay Khalilzad, the particular consultant for Afghanistan reconciliation “has continued to press the Taliban or Mark Frerichs’ launch and continues to lift his standing in senior stage engagements in Doha and Islamabad.”
“We place a excessive precedence on Mark Frerichs’ security and won’t cease working till he’s safely returned to his household. The Secretary has made clear that the protection and the secure return of People wrongfully detained or held hostage are a prime precedence worldwide. We proceed to make this clear to a variety of interlocutors, together with the Taliban,” the company added.
The White Home didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The Biden administration has additionally obtained stress from Democrats in Congress to get Frerichs launched.
Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Unwell.) and Dick Durbin (D-Unwell.) wrote to Biden this week, calling for the White Home Nationwide Safety Council to name an emergency assembly to develop a plan of action that might result in the Taliban releasing the prisoner.
“Our consideration and vitality should be dedicated to pushing on each affordable lever to safe the secure return of Mr. Frerichs to his household in the USA,” they wrote.
Khalilzad stated earlier this month that the administration desires to get Frerichs house safely.
“I and my colleagues speak to the household, and I’ve raised it repeatedly and proceed to lift it with the Taliban every time I see them. We additionally elevate the difficulty with international locations with affect on the Taliban,” equivalent to Pakistan and Qatar, he stated.
Khalilzad declined to share particulars on the negotiations and stated American officers didn’t know of the kidnapping once they signed the take care of the Taliban in the course of the Trump administration.
Taliban officers have advised U.S. counterparts that they wish to launch Khalilzad however don’t wish to trade prisoners, the official stated.
“The Talibs need normalcy when it comes to relations with us, if they need their very own prisoners launched, in the event that they wish to get off the record–there are lots of points that they need. So we proceed to have leverage and we’ll carry all of them to bear to safe Mark’s launch and the earlier the higher,” he stated.