A U.S. Navy veteran and civilian contractor held by the Taliban for more than two years was released in a prisoner exchange Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet.

The Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network abducted Mark Frerichs, 60, in January 2020.

The U.S. reportedly exchanged Bashir Noorzai, a Taliban member who spent more than 17 years in a U.S. prison. Noorzai was convicted of drug trafficking in 2008.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from the country in August 2021.

Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the prisoner swap could improve diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and the U.S.

"This can be a new chapter between Afghanistan and the United States, this can open a new door for talks between both countries," he said at a Kabul press conference.

President Joe Biden said the swap required "difficult decisions."

Frerichs' sister, Charlene Cakora, said the family had never given up hope of his return.

"I am so happy to hear that my brother is safe and on his way home to us," Chakora said in a statement.

This swap comes five months after the U.S. negotiated the release of Marine veteran Trevor Reed with Russia.

Biden, who is attending the late Queen Elizabeth II's funeral in London, called Frerichs' family Monday to share the news of his release, a senior administration official said.