Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi on Monday confirmed that the Taliban has freed an American engineer in return for an Afghan leader in a prisoner swap between the two countries.
Haji Bashir Noorzai a senior member of the Taliban arrived in Kabul today. Acting Afghan minister Khan told a press conference here today that Noorzai, who was in US custody since 2005 after his arrest on drug smuggling was released in exchange for American citizen Mark Frerichs, Tolo News reported.
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, according to Tolo News.
Noorzai contacted American troops in Afghanistan after 2001 and travelled to the US. While Noorzai was in New York in 2005 he was arrested, and sentenced to life in prison by a US court.