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American citizen is suspected kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan

06 Feb 2020 Daily Mail Online

 Mark R. Frerichs, 57, of Lombard, Illinois is missing in eastern Afghanistan

An American citizen has been kidnapped in Afghanistan by a Taliban-affiliated group, a U.S. official said Thursday, and authorities are working to rescue him.

U.S. officials believe Mark R. Frerichs, 57, of Lombard, Illinois, was kidnapped by the Haqqani network, according to an official who was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Frerichs is a former U.S. Navy diver and works as managing director for International Logistical Support, a government contractor that works in conflict zones.

He was abducted last week in Khost province, in the eastern part of the country, according to Newsweek, which first reported the suspected kidnapping.

U.S. officials believe Frerich was kidnapped by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network. Taliban militia fighters are seen in a 2008 file photo


Art Frerichs, who identified himself as Frerichs' father, told an AP reporter on Thursday that he believed the Newsweek report was true. 

'I don't want to say any more now for security reasons,' he said. 'I have the utmost faith in President Trump and the FBI.'

The Taliban said it had no information on the kidnapping and nothing to say about it. No one has claimed responsibility for kidnapping Frerichs.

The investigation is being handled by the FBI-led Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, a multi-agency effort created by the Obama administration amid criticism over the government's response to hostage-taking. 

US Army OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters fly past the village of Woro Keli, Buwri Tana district in Khost Province, on August 7, 2012

The kidnapping comes as the United States and Taliban try to reach an agreement that would reduce hostilities in Afghanistan and open a window to signing a peace deal to end Afghanistan's 18-year war, bring U.S. troops home and start negotiations between combatants on both sides of the conflict to decide the face of a future Afghanistan.

Khost province is the headquarters of the Haqqani network. In November, Anas Haqqani , the younger brother of Sirajuddin, the Taliban's deputy head and chief of the Haqqani network, was freed in exchange for the release of American professor Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks.

The two professors at the American University in Afghanistan were kidnapped in 2016 in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

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