Biden Calls on Taliban to Release U.S. Hostage Mark Frerichs Before Legitimacy Recognized

United States President Joe Biden called on the Taliban to release U.S. hostage Mark Frerichs before a legitimate government of Afghanistan can be recognized.

In a statement ahead of the two-year anniversary of Frerichs’ abduction, Biden said the Taliban took Frerichs, a U.S. Navy veteran and civil engineer, hostage when he “has done nothing wrong.”

“Threatening the safety of Americans or any innocent civilians is always unacceptable, and hostage-taking is an act of particular cruelty and cowardice. The Taliban must immediately release Mark before it can expect any consideration of its aspirations for legitimacy. This is not negotiable,” Biden said.

“My administration will continue to work steadfastly until every American being unjustly held against their will comes home,” Biden added.

According to U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, the U.S. has raised Frerichs’ case in every meeting with the Taliban.

“We have been clear that the legitimacy the Taliban seek is impossible to consider while they hold a U.S. citizen hostage. His release is among our core, non-negotiable priorities,” Price said in a statement.

Frerichs’ sister, Charlene Cakora, told The Daily Herald in an interview published on Jan. 29 that her family has recently spoken to Roger Carstens, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department.

“They want to trade Mark for one of their guys who has been in U.S. prison for 17 years,” Cakora said.

“We know he is trying to get Mark home, but this is a decision that has to be made at the top,” Cakora also said.

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