Washington releases a Taliban leader held for 17 years in exchange for the release of an American engineer

Washington releases a Taliban leader held for 17 years in exchange for the release of an American engineer Afghan sources confirmed that the leader of the Taliban movement, Muhammad Bashir, arrived in the capital, Kabul, after spending about 17 years in Guantanamo Bay.  A Taliban spokesman said that the United States released a senior leader of the movement, Bashir Noorzai, after holding him for more than 17 years, and that he arrived in Kabul on Monday.  Hours after his arrival, the Afghan Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that "the American engineer, Mark Frerichs, was released in exchange for the United States releasing a senior figure in the Taliban movement."  Reports in state media said that Muhammad Bashir was among the last Afghan detainees in Guantanamo Bay.  "Respected Haji Bashir was released after being imprisoned for two decades and arrived in Kabul today," Muhammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman in Doha, said in a tweet.  Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan tribal leader, was arrested in 2005 and charged with smuggling $50 million worth of heroin into the United States.  Noorzai's lawyer later denied that his client was a drug dealer and demanded that the charges be dropped, because US government officials deceived him into believing he would not be arrested.  The American engineer Frerichs, who worked on construction projects in Afghanistan, is believed to have been detained in early February 2020 in Taliban prisons.  The State Department last year offered a reward of up to $5 million for information in his case.


Afghan sources confirmed that the leader of the Taliban movement, Muhammad Bashir, arrived in the capital, Kabul, after spending about 17 years in Guantanamo Bay.

A Taliban spokesman said that the United States released a senior leader of the movement, Bashir Noorzai, after holding him for more than 17 years, and that he arrived in Kabul on Monday.

Hours after his arrival, the Afghan Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that "the American engineer, Mark Frerichs, was released in exchange for the United States releasing a senior figure in the Taliban movement."

Reports in state media said that Muhammad Bashir was among the last Afghan detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

"Respected Haji Bashir was released after being imprisoned for two decades and arrived in Kabul today," Muhammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman in Doha, said in a tweet.

Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan tribal leader, was arrested in 2005 and charged with smuggling $50 million worth of heroin into the United States.

Noorzai's lawyer later denied that his client was a drug dealer and demanded that the charges be dropped, because US government officials deceived him into believing he would not be arrested.

The American engineer Frerichs, who worked on construction projects in Afghanistan, is believed to have been detained in early February 2020 in Taliban prisons.

The State Department last year offered a reward of up to $5 million for information in his case.

Previous Post Next Post