WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. US Vice President Joe Biden urged on the Taliban on Sunday to “immediately release” the man thought to be the insurgents’ final American captive, saying that acknowledging the militants’ authority in Afghanistan would be impossible until he was free.
The statement came on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the kidnapping of Mark Frerichs, a US Navy veteran who worked as a civil engineer in Afghanistan for a decade.
“Before the Taliban’s legitimate objectives can be considered, Mark must be released immediately. This is not a debatable point “In a statement, Biden remarked.
“Endangering the safety of Americans or any innocent civilians is always wrong,” he stated, adding that “hostage-taking is an act of extraordinary brutality and cowardice.”
In August, the United States concluded its departure from Afghanistan, bringing an end to more than two decades of conflict that began with the US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001 attacks and culminated with the Taliban regaining control.
Washington has frequently informed the Taliban that it must “earn” legitimacy before the international community will recognise it.
According to accounts, Taliban negotiators earlier proposed a prisoner swap, exchanging Frerichs for Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan tribal commander and alleged Taliban associate imprisoned in the United States for life for bringing heroin into the nation.
However, the United States has shown little interest in the agreement.
Charlene Cakora, Frerichs’ sister, begged in an opinion piece published Thursday in The Washington Post for Biden to bring him home.
“Either the US administration makes this exchange or my brother’s life is not saved. Every day that we do not bring Mark home is another day that he is in risk “Cakora penned the piece.
As the United States finished its withdrawal last August, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki stated that the State Department and other US officials were working to secure Frerichs’ release.
“They’ve continued to urge the Taliban for his release, and they’ve raised the status in senior-level contacts,” she explained.