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US offers up to $5 million for tips on two Americans missing in Afghanistan

Paul Edwin Overby Jr. in Afghanistan in 2010. He was kidnapped in the country's Khost Province in 2014.

FBI

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 27, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States is offering rewards of up to $5 million for information about the disappearance of two Americans in Afghanistan, one of them a Navy veteran.

Former Navy diver and longtime contractor Mark Frerichs went missing in early February in an undisclosed part of the country, the State Department said in a statement Wednesday.

He had been living in Afghanistan since approximately 2010 and worked on construction projects in various provinces, it said.

The second man, author Paul Overby, was last seen in eastern Khost province in May 2014, where he was doing book research. It’s thought he was planning to cross the border into Pakistan to carry out further research, the statement said.

The reward offers are “for information leading to the location, recover and return of Mr. Frerichs and Mr. Overby,” it said.

In an interview with ABC News in May, Frerichs’ family said they feared he would be left behind in Afghanistan as the U.S. pushes ahead with plans to draw down its forces in the country.

A U.S.-Taliban deal signed Feb. 29 stipulates that all foreign troops could withdraw from the country within 14 months. However, many of the conditions expected of the Taliban for the withdrawal to happen haven’t yet been met.

The ABC report said Frerichs was abducted on Jan. 31, likely by the Haqqani Network, a Taliban-affiliated group known for killing hundreds of American troops.

The reward offers totaling $5 million follow a separate $1 million reward announced by the FBI in 2018 for information on Overby’s disappearance.

news@stripes.com

An FBI poster offering a reward for information about Mark Randall Frerichs, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan earlier this year.
FBI

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