US-Taliban prisoner swap: Who are Mark Frerichs, Bashir Noorzai? | Taliban News

The US hails the discharge of navy veteran Mark Frerichs by Afghanistan, exchanged for convicted drug trafficker Bashir Noorzai.

Washington, DC – America has freed a convicted Afghan druglord imprisoned within the US in a prisoner swap with the Taliban that noticed the discharge of a US Navy veteran held in Afghanistan since 2020.

US President Joe Biden on Monday welcomed the discharge of Mark Frerichs, who was kidnapped whereas working as a civil engineer in Afghanistan.

However he acknowledged that the deal “required tough choices”, referring to the discharge of Bashir Noorzai, a Taliban ally who was serving a life sentence in a US jail on drug prices.

The prisoner change comes greater than a 12 months after the Taliban took over the Afghan capital amid the withdrawal of US troops in August 2021.

Washington has not recognised the Taliban authorities. However on Monday, officers in each nations mentioned the prisoner swap was the results of prolonged negotiations, suggesting that communication channels between the Biden administration and the Taliban are open.

Right here, Al Jazeera takes a take a look at who Frerichs and Noorzai are, and the efforts that led to their launch.

Bashir Noorzai
Bashir Noorzai (centre) on the Intercontinental Lodge in Kabul after his launch from US jail, September 19 [Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Photo]

Bashir Noorzai

  • Noorzai, often known as Hajji Bashir, is a tribal chief in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
  • In accordance with the US authorities, he owned poppy fields and laboratories for the manufacturing of heroin and oversaw a worldwide drug operation. US officers have described him because the “Pablo Escobar of heroin trafficking in Asia”, evaluating him to an notorious Colombian druglord.
  • Noorzai was accused of getting shut private ties with the Taliban’s late co-founder Mullah Omar. US prosecutors say he financially supported the Taliban in change for permitting his drug enterprise to proceed.
  • He was arrested in 2005 within the US, the place his legal professionals mentioned he deliberate to speak with federal officers. It isn’t clear in what capability he was speaking with US authorities at the moment.
  • In 2008, Noorzai was convicted of drug-related conspiracy prices. A 12 months later, he was sentenced to life in jail.
  • “Bashir Noorzai’s worldwide narcotics community supported a Taliban regime that made Afghanistan a breeding floor for worldwide terrorism, a legacy that continues to destabilize the area,” a US Justice Division official mentioned in a press release at the moment. “In the present day’s sentence definitively places an finish to Noorzai’s lengthy felony profession.”
  • Noorzai’s legal professionals have denied the allegations in opposition to him, arguing that he was lured into the US on the promise that he wouldn’t be arrested.

Mark Frerichs

  • Frerichs, 60, is a navy veteran and civil engineer who labored as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan till he was kidnapped in Khost province, southeast of Kabul, in early 2020.
  • Whereas the circumstances of his kidnapping stay unclear, unidentified US officers have informed information shops that they imagine he was kidnapped by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani Community.
  • The Related Press information company reported in 2020 that US forces performed a failed rescue operation to free Frerichs that 12 months.
  • In a video filmed late in 2021 and made public in April, Frerichs pleaded for his launch, saying he wished to be reunited along with his household. “I’d prefer to ask the management of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, please, launch me,” he mentioned.
  • Frerichs’s household known as on the Biden administration earlier this 12 months to free Noorzai – a recognized key demand of the Taliban – to safe the US Navy veteran’s launch.
  • “I perceive Noorzai is a convicted felony … However I do know we’ve held him for greater than 16 years and that others who’ve achieved so much worse have been despatched house. It’s regular for prisoners to be returned after wars finish,” Frerichs’s sister Charlene Cakora wrote within the Washington Publish in January.
  • Lawmakers from Frerichs’s house state of Illinois had additionally urged Biden to “push on each affordable lever” to make sure his launch. Frerichs is from Lombard, a city close to Chicago.
  • Frerichs’s household defended the prisoner swap deal on Monday. “My brother is alive and secure as a result of President Biden took motion. There have been some of us arguing in opposition to the deal that introduced Mark house, however President Biden did what was proper. He saved the lifetime of an harmless American veteran,” Cakora mentioned in a press release, as reported by a number of US information shops.

‘Absolutely nothing’: Desperate parents swap, sell baby formula | Food News

A child system scarcity in america is driving dad and mom to swap, promote and supply leftover provides to one another, whereas President Joe Biden plans to talk with producers and retailers Thursday concerning the plight going through households.

The issue is the results of provide chain disruptions and a security recall, and has had a cascade of results: Retailers are limiting what prospects should purchase, and docs and well being employees are urging dad and mom to contact meals banks or physicians’ workplaces, along with warning in opposition to watering down system to stretch provides or utilizing on-line DIY (do it your self) recipes.

The scarcity is weighing notably on lower-income households after the recall by system maker Abbott stemming from contamination issues. That recall worn out many manufacturers lined by the Particular Supplemental Diet Program for Girls, Infants, and Kids (WIC), a federal programme like meals stamps that serves moms, infants and kids, although the programme now permits model substitutes.

Jennifer Kersey, 36 of Cheshire, Connecticut, mentioned she was all the way down to her final can of system for her seven-month-old son, Blake Kersey Jr, earlier than somebody noticed her submit on a Fb group and got here by with a couple of pattern cans.

“At first I used to be beginning to panic,” she mentioned. “However, I’m a believer within the Lord, so I mentioned, ’God, I do know you’re going to offer for me and I simply began reaching out to individuals, ‘Hey do you have got this system?’”

She mentioned she and others within the group are serving to one another, discovering shops that will have the system in inventory and getting system to moms who want it.

“If somebody presents me and says, ‘I’ve these three,’ I’ll say ‘I’ll take the purple can after which put the opposite ones on that web site.’ I’m not going to hoard stuff. I’m ensuring that everyone has.”

Kimberly Anderson, 34, of Hartford County, Maryland, mentioned her 7 1/2-month-old son takes a prescription system that’s been almost unattainable to seek out regionally. She turned to social media and mentioned individuals in Utah and Boston discovered the system, which she paid to have shipped.

“They are saying it takes a village to lift a child,” she mentioned. “Little did I do know my village spans the whole US as I ping associates/household for his or her zip codes so I can examine their native Walmarts to have them ship on to me.”

Erika Thompson, 28, a mom of three in Wallingford, Connecticut, mentioned it’s turn out to be virtually a full-time job for her to trace down the hypoallergenic system her 3 1/2-month-old daughter, Everly, should have. She mentioned associates out of state have additionally been in search of her and delivery cans in the event that they discover them.

She is down to at least one small pattern can, which she mentioned would possibly final a pair extra days.

“You’ll be able to journey all over the place — numerous cities, shops, Amazon, on-line,” she mentioned. “Truthfully, it’s heartbreaking. Sure shops have completely nothing and now they’re limiting you. So what do you do?”

She mentioned it’s been upsetting to learn feedback on-line telling her she ought to have breastfed as a substitute. She mentioned she was unable to provide an sufficient provide of milk, however she shouldn’t have to elucidate that to individuals.

“It’s not our fault,” she mentioned. “Somebody posted that individuals ought to simply have abortions principally. No. It’s not our fault for having youngsters. Silly stuff like that aggravates me.”

In Washington, White Home Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz mentioned on Twitter that the administration can even announce “extra actions” to deal with the system scarcity.

Shortages of primary items have been an issue for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. Entry to medical provides, laptop chips, family home equipment, autos and different items has been damage by closed factories and outbreaks of the virus, in addition to storms and different climate-related occasions.

A security recall compounded the challenges relating to child system.

The UD Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) warned shoppers on February 17 to keep away from some powdered child system merchandise from a Sturgis, Michigan facility run by Abbott Diet, which then initiated a voluntary recall. In response to findings launched in March by federal security inspectors, Abbott failed to keep up sanitary circumstances and procedures on the plant.

Abbott mentioned in a press release that the recall concerned 4 complaints about an environmental micro organism present in infants who consumed system from the plant. Two infants grew to become sick, whereas two died. “After an intensive evaluate of all out there information, there is no such thing as a proof to hyperlink our formulation to those toddler sicknesses,” the corporate mentioned.

Abbott mentioned that pending FDA approval, “We might restart the positioning inside two weeks.” The corporate would start by first producing EleCare, Alimentum and metabolic formulation after which begin manufacturing of Similac and different formulation. As soon as manufacturing started, it will take six weeks to eight weeks for the infant system to be out there on cabinets.

On Tuesday, the FDA mentioned it was working with US producers to extend their output and streamlining paperwork to permit extra imports. The company famous that provide chain points related to the pandemic have been a part of the issue and that customers purchased extra child system in April than within the month earlier than the recall.

White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned this week that the FDA was “working across the clock to deal with any doable shortages”.