Navy veteran Mark Frerichs, held hostage in Afghanistan, freed by Taliban in prisoner swap

Mark Frerichs, a contractor from Lombard, poses in Iraq in this undated photo.

AP Photos

Charlene Cakora’s cell phone rang on Monday at 3:36 a.m.

On the other end was President Joe Biden, calling from Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. He wanted to tell the Lombard woman that her brother, Taliban hostage Mark Frerichs, was being released after being held hostage in Afghanistan for more than two years.

“He was really brief and sweet and just basically said that my brother is pretty much lucky to have me as a sister,” the Lombard woman told the Sun-Times.

“I’ve been having my phone next to me and had little sleep for the past two and a half years. I’m alert to the phone every time it rings — even during the day, I’ve got it with me all the time, and I’m not like that,” she said.

“I was just in awe. I was stunned, very happy, very happy, but right now we just need time to process this,” she said from her home in Lombard home, an American flag and a POW/MIA flag waving in the wind in her front yard.

Held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan since Jan. 31, 2020, Frerichs was part of a prisoner swap Monday for an Afghan drug lord, Bashir Noorzai, who had been serving a life sentence in U.S. prisons.

“I spoke with Mark’s sister today to share the good news and express how happy I am for Mark’s family,” Biden said in a statement. “Bringing the negotiations that led to Mark’s freedom to a successful resolution required difficult decisions, which I did not take lightly. Our priority now is to …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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