US and Afghanistan carry out prisoner exchange

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Kabul: The US and the Taliban have finalized a prisoner swap, according to Afghanistan’s foreign minister, with an American navy veteran traded for a crucial friend.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, said Mark Frerichs, who was kidnapped in 2020, was exchanged for Bashar Noorzai, a warlord and Taliban associate imprisoned in the United States for 17 years for heroin smuggling.

“Today at Kabul airport, Mark Frerichs was turned over to the US, and Hajji Bashar was handed over to us,” Muttaqi told reporters.

He stated that the exchange occurred “after protracted talks,” and that Frerichs was handed over to a US delegation.

The US Navy veteran was working as a civil engineer on construction projects in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped, according to the US State Department.

According to government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, Noorzai had no formal position in the Taliban but “offered considerable assistance, including weapons,” when the hard-line Islamist organisation developed in the 1990s.

Source: AFP

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