A US contractor was kidnapped by a Taliban aliened militant group in the eastern Khost province of Afghanistan last Friday, January 31, US official told Newsweek, an American weekly news magazine.
The militant group have kidnapped US national Mark R. Frerichs,
57, who is a former US Navy diver and the managing director for International
Logistical Support, a US government contractor. Citing its official source, the
magazine reported that Frerichs had regularly traveled to Afghanistan since
“While no group has claimed responsibility for the
kidnapping, US officials believe the Taliban aligned Haqqani network
orchestrated the operation,” the American weekly stated, adding that joint
efforts were underway by US Department of State and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) to locate and recover the US citizen.
According to the magazine, ground and intelligence-gathering
operations conducted by US forces to track the whereabouts of Frerichs have not
produced result yet due to severe winter weather and difficult topography of
“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the
highest priorities of the Department of State,” Holy Jensen, a spokeswoman for
the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell – a multi-agency team based at FBI
Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was quoted as saying. She, however, expressed
“no further comment” regarding Frerichs kidnapping.
The incident comes after US President Donald Trump, in his
State of the Union address to US Congress on Tuesday, renewed his pledge to
withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.