Taliban Releases American and Australian Professors in Prisoner Swap

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Two professors who were kidnapped in 2016 were released by the Taliban terrorist group on Nov. 18 after the Afghan government freed three militant commanders.

Kevin King, an American citizen, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian citizen, were held for more than three years before being released. They were abducted in August 2016 while leaving the campus of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

American Special Forces tried to rescue them several days later but were unable to locate them.

In a video released the next year, King and Weeks implored President Donald Trump to arrange for their release.

Kings family issued a statement later Tuesday saying he was now safe with U.S. officials in Afghanistan and getting the medical care he needs ahead of his return home to be reunited with his family. It was not clear if Weeks was also with Australian officials.

“We are so happy to hear that my brother has been freed and is on his way home to us,” said Kings sister, Stephanie Miller. “This has been a long and painful ordeal for our entire family, and his safe return has been our highest priority. We appreciate the support we have received and ask for privacy as we await Kevins safe return.”

Anas Haqqani, a senior leader of the Haqqani network, arrested by the Afghan Intelligence Service, in a 2014 file photograph. (National Directorate of Security Department/Handout/Reuters)

Their freedom came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners and sent them to Qatar. They included Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Talibans deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also leads the fearsome Haqqani network. The other two were Hajji Malik Khan, an uncle of Haqqani and a Haqqani lieutenant, Hafiz Abdul Rashid.

It appears the Taliban had refused to hand over the two professors until they received proof their men had reached Qatar. A Taliban statement said the prisoner exchange was a good step “for building trust” and something that “can help in peace process.”

In a statement, the American University of Afghanistan said: “AUAF welcomes the news of the release of our colleagues, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, who had been held hostage since Aug. 7, 2016.

“The AUAF community shares the relief of the families of Kevin and Timothy, and we look forward to providing all the support wRead More – Source