American contractor Mark Frerichs has been released by the Taliban after nearly two years of being held as a prisoner Noorzai

according to the AP, was a drug lord and member of the Taliban, who said he had been held by the U.S. government for 17 years and six months at Guantanamo Bay.

 Noorzai’s detention was not confirmed by the AP.

Noorzai had been serving a life sentence for drug trafficking, BBC News reported. 

He was not a government official but “provided strong support including weapons,” according to Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.

Frerichs’ family confirmed to the AP that he had been freed.

The White House later released a statement that confirmed Frerichs’ release, saying “he will soon be home.”

“Bringing the negotiations that led to Mark’s freedom to a successful resolution required difficult decisions, which I did not take lightly.

 Our priority now is to make sure Mark receives a healthy and safe return

 and is given the space and time he needs to transition back into society,” the White House wrote.