An American citizen has been kidnapped in Afghanistan

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UH60 assigned to Task Force Iron Dragons en route to deliver supplies in support Operation Freedom Sentinel in March 2019. (Photo by Spc. TIN P. VUONG)

A U.S. official has confirmed that an American in Afghanistan has been kidnapped, as first reported by Newsweek.

Newsweek has identified the missing U.S. citizen as Mark R. Frerichs, a former Navy diver who has worked as a logistician and civil engineer in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and other conflict zones for the past 10 years, according to Frerichs Linkedin profile.


No information was available about Frerichs' current job in Afghanistan or how he was reportedly kidnapped on Jan. 31 in Khost province.

The State Department and FBI are currently looking for Frerichs, according to Newsweek reporters James LaPorta, Tom O'Connor, and Naveed Jamali.

A State Department spokesperson provided Task & Purpose with a generic statement when asked if an American in Afghanistan had been kidnapped.

"The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State," the spokesperson said. "We have no further comment."

U.S. officials suspect that the Haqqani network is responsible for taking Frerichs, Newsweek reported. The group is affiliated with the Taliban.

In 2009, the Taliban captured Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had walked off his base in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was held for five years until being released in 2014 as part of a prisoner exchange.

Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen was shot in the head in July 2009 while searching for Bergdahl. Unable to walk or speak for the rest of his life, Allen died in October at the age of 46.


Army recruiters hold a swearing-in ceremony for over 40 of Arkansas' Future Soldiers at the Arkansas State Capital Building. (U.S. Army/Amber Osei)

Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.

"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

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A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk crew chief with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion stands for a portrait at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Feb. 3, 2020 (Air National Guard photo / Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.

Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.

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