(RepublicanWire.org) – President Biden has called on an Afghan terror group to release a US Navy veteran they’ve been holding hostage for two years. The question is – if his kidnappers haven’t released him so far, why would they do it now, when US influence in Afghanistan is at its weakest in over 20 years?
Former US Navy Diver Mark Frerichs, of Lombard, IL, is one of thousands of westerners who worked to rebuild Afghanistan between 2001 and the Biden administration’s shambolic retreat last August. Frerichs, a 59-year-old director with contractor International Logistic Support, visited Afghanistan multiple times starting in 2012 – but on January 31, 2020, his luck ran out. While traveling through Khost Province, close to the Pakistani border, he disappeared. A raid by Navy SEALs found no trace of him, despite interviewing locals and attempting to track his cell phone.
The Taliban say they didn’t abduct Frerichs and aren’t holding him. However, intelligence suggests he was snatched by the Haqqani network, a group loosely linked to the Taliban, but even more extreme. The Haqqani network’s power base is Miranshah, North Waziristan – just across the Pakistani border from Khost Province.
To mark the second anniversary of Frerichs’s disappearance, Biden warned the Taliban that until Frerichs is released the US won’t even consider recognizing them as Afghanistan’s legitimate government. He insisted “This is not negotiable.” The trouble is, the Taliban probably couldn’t get Frerichs released even if it wanted to and, in any case, Biden has no leverage to threaten them. The US has already frozen every Taliban asset within reach, and after pulling our troops out in an indecent rush last year, he isn’t going to send them back.
The president’s foreign policy weakness is a disaster for the US – and a very personal one for Mark Frerichs.