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US Forces Search for Kidnapped American

Illinois contractor was captured in Afghanistan
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2020 5:46 PM CST
Australian Timothy Weeks, top, and American Kevin King were abducted in Afghanistan in August 2016 and released in November.   (AL-EMARA Taliban via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Months after the Taliban released two hostages, an American and an Australian, another American has been taken in Afghanistan. Mark Frerichs, 57, of Lombard, Illinois, was kidnapped last Friday, Newsweek reports. Frerichs is an executive for a US contractor, International Logistical Support, and a former diver for the Navy. No group has claimed responsibility, but US officials suspect the Haqqani network—which once was backed by the CIA but now is affilialted with the Taliban. In November, two American University of Kabul professors, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, were freed after being taken at gunpoint in August 2016, per NBC. They were traded for three senior Haqqani network officials, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called a goodwill gesture and President Trump said he hoped would lead to a peace deal with the Taliban.

US forces have launched efforts to find Frerichs, who has been traveling to Afghanistan since 2012. Winter weather has hampered surveillance flights by drones that are part of the mission, which includes the FBI, the State Department and the Defense Department. The FBI said that more than 180 Americans kidnapped by foreign terrorist organizations or criminal groups have been returned as of 2018. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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