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New Footage Marks First Time Taliban Hostage Has Been Seen In Years

Dominic Smithers

Published 
| Last updated 

New Footage Marks First Time Taliban Hostage Has Been Seen In Years

Featured Image Credit: CBS Chicago/Charlene Cakora

New footage has been released of an American man who was taken hostage by the Taliban two years ago. Watch it below:

US veteran Mark Frerichs was kidnapped in January 2020 while working in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

Since then, it's thought that he has been held by the Taliban-linked group Haqqani Network.

And when Joe Biden pulled troops out of Afghanistan last year, the 59-year-old was believed to be the only American left in the country.

But despite efforts to negotiate his release, no agreement had been reached and it wasn't clear whether or not Mr Frerichs was even still alive.

However, new footage obtained by The New Yorker shows the engineer - identified by his sister - reading what appears to be a prepared statement.

In the short clip, Mr Frerichs says it was recorded on 28 November 2021.

Mark Frerichs has been held by the Taliban for two years. Credit: The New Yorke
Mark Frerichs has been held by the Taliban for two years. Credit: The New Yorke

He says: "I've been patiently waiting for my release.

"I'd like to ask the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, please, release me.

"Release me so that I may be reunited with my family. Thank you."

Speaking to the publication about the video, Mr Frerichs’s sister Charlene Cakora said: "This is public confirmation of our family’s long-held belief that he is alive after more than two years in captivity."

She and her family have been frustrated by the slow progress that has been made by the US government in gaining Mr Frerichs's release.

According to The New Yorker, they were denied a meeting with Donald Trump in 2020, as they were with Joe Biden's national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

A senior Administration official said: "President Biden has been clear: the Administration will continue to work until every US citizen being held hostage or wrongfully detained comes home.

"We will never ask families to be content, knowing that their loved one is not home with them."

Mr Frerichs was kidnapped in Kabul in 2020. Credit: Alamy
Mr Frerichs was kidnapped in Kabul in 2020. Credit: Alamy

The Taliban has said in the past that it will free Mr Frerichs if the US government agrees to free Afghan drug lord Hajji Bashar Noorzai who is serving a life sentence for trafficking. 

Speaking about the swap, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said it should be agreed to.

He said: "As the only remaining US hostage of the war in Afghanistan, we owe it to Mark Frerichs and his family to pull every possible lever we can to bring home this Navy Veteran who served our nation honourably.

"Bashir Noorzai cooperated with our government by providing intelligence and helping us recover weapons from the Taliban for years and, as an elderly man in poor health, he is unlikely to return to any position of operational significance for the Taliban. 

"At this point, releasing him — after he served 17 years in prison — appears to be the only way to secure Mark's safe return, so I would support the Administration taking this step to ensure an American is not left behind."

Topics: US News, Politics, Joe Biden, Donald Trump

Dominic Smithers
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