Mark Frerichs was finally allowed to return to the United States last week after spending more than two years in captivity in Afghanistan, due to a prisoner swap arranged by the Biden administration.
In exchange for Frerichs’ release, Haji Bashir Noorzai, a key member of the Taliban who had spent 17 years behind bars in the US on drug smuggling charges, received a pardon.
This Noorzai is the same person that was purportedly listed on a top-secret “kill” list kept by a significant American agency.
America’s Frerichs A former Navy officer who spent more than ten years working for a government contractor in Afghanistan vanished in January 2020, possibly at the hands of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.
The arrangements for American repatriation were negotiated under the Biden administration. Trevor Reed, a former Marine, was released five months before Frerichs.
Haji Bashir Noorzai, a prominent member of the Taliban who had been in an American prison for 17 years on drug-trafficking charges, is to be granted clemency. https://t.co/dtNekGhLw8 pic.twitter.com/lQh92uwAuk— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 27, 2022
Both Paul Whelan, a private security guard, and WNBA star Brittney Griner are still in Russian captivity. There have been no indications that Griner and/or Whelan will be released as part of a prisoner swap despite the fact that Griner’s arrest, trial, and guilty plea received extensive media publicity. In Russia, Griner has already started serving a nine-year prison term.
Michael Braun, chief operations for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, allegedly oversaw the complex sting operation that resulted in Noorzai’s capture in New York City in April 2005.
Braun’s squad reportedly comprised agents from the DEA’s Special Operations Division who hunted down narcoterrorists who used drug proceeds to finance terrorist operations.
According to Braun, the Taliban’s war chests received hundreds of millions of dollars directly from the Noorzai heroin trafficking ring, supporting their attacks on American and allies forces in Afghanistan.
The American military and their coalition allies launched a number of extraordinarily risky sorties to find him, according to Braun.
When he was detained in 2005, Noorzai didn’t seem like the kind to seek the president’s pardon.