Biden Withdrawal Leaves Navy Vet in Taliban's Hands

Mark Frerichs on verge of becoming 'Bob Levinson of Afghanistan,' advocate says

August 16, 2021

Navy veteran Mark Frerichs remains a hostage of the Taliban as the Biden administration panics to bring home troops and civilians remaining in the country.

Frerichs, a civilian contractor kidnapped by the Taliban in January 2020, could be left behind in the panic to evacuate Americans who are trapped in Kabul as the city comes under Taliban control. President Joe Biden only mentioned Frerichs, whose location is unknown, once in a July speech, though government officials have assured the Washington Free Beacon they are urgently working to retrieve him.

Charlene Cakora, Frerichs's sister, released a statement that urges readers to remember Frerichs and calls for his return home.

"Please remember that my brother, Mark Frerichs, is a hostage of the Taliban," Cakora said. "We want all US troops home safely, but my brother should be able to come home too."

"Mark Frerichs is on the verge of becoming 'the Bob Levinson of Afghanistan,' another American hostage left behind because his government had other priorities," said Eric Lebson, a hostage advocate and former National Security Council director of Afghanistan and Pakistan affairs. "The opportunity to bring Mark home has been in place since last summer, but just takes the will of the White House to make it happen."

Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who was detained by Iran in 2007, is now presumed dead.

The Taliban has floated the idea of swapping Frerichs for Bashir Noorzai, a drug trafficker who has ties to the Taliban and is in U.S. custody. Both the Trump and Biden administrations resisted such an exchange, but time may be running out. The Taliban seized unprecedented leverage in talks with the United States by seizing the Afghan capital of Kabul over the weekend. Some Americans reportedly remain behind Taliban lines within Afghanistan.