US welcomes western hostages release from Taliban captivity


WASHINGTON: The United States (US) on Tuesday welcomed the release of two Western hostages, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, from Taliban captivity in southern Afghanistan.

The duo was handed over to US forces more than three years after they were abducted in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.

In a release, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said two hostages freed by the Taliban after more than three years in captivity are receiving medical care and other support from the US government.

Grisham said the US welcomes the release of professors Kevin King and Timothy Weeks.

Grisham says: “We pray for the full recovery of both men, who endured significant hardship during their captivity, and wish them well as they reunite with their loved ones in the near future.”

Taliban Western Hostages

The release of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, comes one week after President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan would free three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent swap that he hoped would help jumpstart peace talks, AFP reported.

King and Weeks were kidnapped by gunmen wearing military uniforms in the heart of Kabul in August 2016.

The Afghan president said Tuesday that the pair’s health had been deteriorating while in the custody.

Ghani had first announced the exchange on November 12, saying the Taliban prisoners held at Bagram prison north of Kabul would be “conditionally” released.

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