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Family of American held in Afghanistan fear he will be left behind as Trump orders more troops to withdraw

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The family of an American kidnapped in Afghanistan earlier this year expressed their fears he may be left behind after the Trump administration announced they are withdrawing more troops from the country over the next few months.

Washington (CNN)The family of an American kidnapped in Afghanistan earlier this year expressed their fears he may be left behind after the Trump administration announced they are withdrawing more troops from the country over the next few months.

The family has had regular contact with the State Department and has had some limited contact with Zalmay Khalilizad, who has been leading US talks with the Taliban.

This spring Khalilizad said, in a series of tweets, that he had discussed Frerichs with members of the Taliban.

Khalilzad told reporters that the Taliban told him that they were not holding Frerichs.

"We're pressing very hard on that and I'll be pressing the issue further on my next trip," Khalilizad said in May. In August, the State Department's Rewards for Justice and FBI offered up to $5 million for information about Frerichs's kidnapping and that of Paul Edwin Overby Jr. , another American who disappeared in Afghanistan in 2014.

It is unclear how, or if, the Trump administration has tried to use any of its leverage in recent months, while it has been in active discussions with the Taliban, to secure Frerichs' release.

Many Afghan experts and former US government officials say the withdrawal of more US forces will benefit the Taliban who have long demanded the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

"Abruptly withdrawing more US troops in the Trump administration's 11th hour weakens the Afghan government and strengthens the Taliban," Laurel Miller, a former State Department official and a director of International Crisis Group, told CNN.

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