US Government Contractor Reportedly Taken Hostage by Taliban in Afghanistan

A multi-department effort to recover an American contractor has been launched after it was alleged that a Taliban-aligned group kidnapped the US citizen late last month.

Mark R. Frerichs, a 57-year-old government contractor from Lombard Illinois, was captured on January 31 in Afghanistan’s southeastern city of Khost by militants linked to the Taliban, according to Newsweek, citing US officials.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officials revealed that Frerichs, who is also a former diver of the US Navy, had regularly traveled to Afghanistan since 2012.

While few details were offered about the 57-year-old’s alleged capture, the sources did confirm that a joint effort to locate and rescue him had been launched by the US Department of State, the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

As for the group responsible, Washington currently believes the American was kidnapped by members of the Haqqani network, which is affiliated with the Taliban, Newsweek reported. Two Western hostages, Kevin King of the US and Australian national Tim Weeks, were previously exchanged for three senior commanders of the Taliban-aligned group back in November 2019. The two individuals had been in captivity for three years before an agreement was reached.

However, no group has publicly taken responsibility for Frerichs’ alleged kidnapping.

“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” Holly Jensen,…

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