US releases senior Taliban member after two decades

TEHRAN, Sep. 19 (MNA) – The United States released a senior figure of the Taliban from Guantanamo prison after two decades, a Taliban spokesperson confirmed.

Haji Bashir Noorzai was released after decades of detention by the United States and arrived in Kabul on Monday, Reuters reported, quoting a Taliban spokesperson.

Afghan state media reports said he had been among the last Afghans held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

"Honorable Haji Bashir was released after two decades of imprisonment and arrived in Kabul today," said Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesperson based in Doha, in a Tweet.

Noorzai was arrested in 2005 being accused of smuggling a shipment of heroin worth more than 50 million dollars to the US, according to Washington's claim.

His lawyer later denied the claim and stated that Noorzai should be acquitted because US government officials had deceived him by claiming that he would not be arrested if he confessed.

According to the announcement of the Taliban foreign ministry caretaker, Noorzai was exchanged with Mark Frerichs, an American engineer.

Frerichs was a US Navy veteran and was kidnapped in early February 2020.


News Code 191592


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