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U.S. Citizen Believed Kidnapped In Eastern Afghanistan

A combo photo shows Anas Haqqani (left), a senior leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, and another commander, Hafiz Rashid.

U.S. officials say an American appears to have been kidnapped in Afghanistan by a group linked to Taliban militants.

The officials on February 6 said they believe that 57-year-old Mark Frerichs of Illinois was kidnapped by the Haqqani network, which is based in Khost.

It was not immediately clear why Frerichs was in Afghanistan or where exactly he might have been kidnapped.

Newsweek, which first reported the kidnapping, said he was seized a week ago in the eastern province of Khost while working as a contractor in conflict zones.

The FBI-led Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, a multiagency operation, is handling the investigation into the matter, officials said.

Art Frerichs, who identified himself as Frerichs' father, told AP that he believed the Newsweek report was true.

"I don't want to say any more now for security reasons," he said. "I have the utmost faith in President [Donald] Trump and the FBI."

The Taliban said it had no information on Frerichs or his possible kidnapping.

In November, Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, was freed in exchange for the release of an American and an Australian, both professors at the American University in Afghanistan who were kidnapped in 2016 in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Based on reporting by AP, Newsweek, and Reuters
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