US senator seeks update on contractor taken in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic senator is contacting on the Condition Office to prioritize the return of Mark Frerichs, an American contractor believed to have been taken by a Taliban-linked militant community in Afghanistan previously this year.

The letter from Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois comes weeks soon after Secretary of Point out Mike Pompeo held what are likely his previous meetings with the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators seeking to hammer out a peace deal. It is unclear to what extent Frerichs, who is one particular of Duckworth’s constituents, was discussed all through people meetings.

But in the letter to Pompeo, which was being produced general public on Monday, Duckworth complained that the household has not had any the latest, immediate conversation from U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. She asked for a phone with Khalilzad right before Dec. 23 to “discuss the latest developments in Mr. Frerichs’ circumstance and how his release is remaining factored into negotiations.”

“Especially now, as the Administration pushes forward on an accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan devoid of public mention of Mr. Frerichs’ ongoing captivity, his household is questioning what initiatives are underway to secure his return,” Duckworth wrote in the letter, which was also sent to the White Property.

The Condition Department rejected any suggestion that Frerichs was not a precedence, declaring that “Khalilzad continually raises Frerichs’s scenario in the course of his foreign travel, which includes on his present vacation.” It also mentioned that Roger Carstens, the exclusive presidential envoy for hostage affairs inside of the State Division, is in get hold of with Frerichs’s family.

Representatives for Khalilzad did not have any immediate comment on Monday.

In a collection of tweets from his formal account previous Might, Khalilzad explained he experienced pressed Taliban leaders to secure the release of Frerichs. The Navy veteran from Lombard, Illinois, went missing in late January and is considered to have been taken by customers of the Haqqani community, a militant team aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and selected as a foreign terrorist firm by the Obama administration in 2012.

Frerichs’ sister, Charlene Cakora, explained in a statement to The Involved Push on Monday that “this war is ending and absolutely everyone justifies to arrive household.”

“President Trump empowered Amb. Khalilzad to negotiate with the Taliban about Afghanistan,” she said. “That indicates he is the man or woman with the best possibility to get Mark home securely. We can only hope that he will make Mark a priority.”

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Comply with Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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