Family of American held hostage by Taliban urges administration to fire Afghanistan peace negotiator
The family of an American man being held hostage in Afghanistan called for President Biden to fire his chief Afghanistan peace negotiator on Monday.
In a statement to Reuters, the family of Mark Frerichs accused U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad of forgetting about Frerichs’s situation.
Frerichs’s sister Charlene Cakora told Reuters, “I have lost faith in Ambassador Khalilzad.”
“They need someone talking to the Taliban who will make Mark a priority,” Cakora said. “Ambassador Khalilzad needs to be fired.”
Frerichs, 59, is a U.S. Navy veteran who worked for a decade in Afghanistan on development projects when he was abducted in February of 2020, shortly before Khalilzad signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Cakora claimed that Khalilzad did not mention Frerichs once to the Taliban in the month between his abduction and the signing of the agreement with the Taliban. She also told Reuters that Khalilzad “hasn’t even spoken to our family since Biden took office.”
The State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the U.S. has continued to call for Frerichs’s “immediate and safe release” and that their efforts “will not stop until Mark comes home.”
“We have made that clear to the Taliban in no uncertain terms,” the spokesperson said, adding that U.S. officials “meet with the family regularly.”
The State Department is offering $5 million for information that leads to the location, recovery and return of Frerichs.