Bashir Noorzai Released by US in Exchange for Mark Frerichs: Muttaqi
Haji Bashir Noorzai, a senior member of the Taliban, arrived in Kabul today after being released from detention by the US, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate said on Twitter.
Speaking at a gathering held to announce the release of Bashir Noorzai, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that Noorzai was released in exchange for American citizen Mark Frerichs.
Speaking at a gathering in Kabul on Monday, the newly released Bashir Noorzai said that his exchange for the American citizen Mark Frerichs will help resolve problems between Afghanistan and the US.
Noorzai spent nearly two decades in prison on charges of drug smuggling.
He was reportedly close to the founder of the Taliban movement, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Noorzai made contact with American troops in Afghanistan after 2001 and traveled to the US. While Noorzai was in New York in 2005 he was arrested, and sentenced to life in prison by a US court.
“Honorable Haji Bashir was released after two decades of imprisonment and arrived in Kabul today,” Mohammad Naeem, Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-based political office spokesman, said in a tweet.
According to Reuters, Noorzai’s lawyer later denied his client was a drug dealer and argued the charges should be dismissed because US government officials duped him into believing he would not be arrested.