September 19, 2022

Duckworth & Durbin Relieved by Release of American Hostage in Afghanistan Mark Frerichs


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) issued the following statements after the family of Mark Frerichs, an Illinoisan held hostage for more than two and a half years after being abducted in Afghanistan in 2020, announced that Mark has been freed from Taliban custody:

“It’s a profound relief that Mark Frerichs, a Navy Veteran who served our nation honorably, is now safely back in American hands after being kidnapped in Afghanistan more than two and a half years ago,” said Duckworth. “I’m thrilled that his family, who have long been Mark’s champions, will get to reunite with him. I applaud President Biden, who I spoke with personally about the need to get Mark home, for taking the steps necessary to prove that we do not leave Americans behind.”

“I am deeply heartened by Mark’s long overdue release and the relief it will bring to him and his family. The tragic and cruel use of him as a hostage has finally come to an end. I want to thank President Biden and his team for their tireless effort to secure Mark’s release and regular engagement with us and his family along the way,” said Durbin.

After Frerichs was abducted by the Taliban, Haqqani network or their affiliates in Afghanistan, Duckworth and Durbin have repeatedly called on both the Trump and Biden administrations to prioritize his safe return. Duckworth even spoke directly with President Biden in the Oval Office about Frerichs captivity and the need to secure his safe return. During a SASC hearing this past May, Duckworth discussed her concern for the safe return of Frerichs and secured a commitment from Mr. David F. Helvey, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, to pursue opportunities to advocate for Frerichs’ safe return. In July, Duckworth spoke with Secretary Blinken about the importance of securing Mark Frerich’s safe release. During a recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Durbin urged Secretary Blinken to do everything in his power to bring home Frerichs.