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Western Professors Freed in Prisoner Swap with Taliban

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

The Taliban released an American and an Australian hostage on Tuesday after the Afghan government freed three imprisoned Taliban officers.

American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks were released three years after being kidnapped outside the American University of Kabul where they worked as professors.

"This morning [November 19, 2019] at around 10 a.m. two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters," a local police official said.

US professor Kevin King (left) and his Australian colleague Timothy Weekes AP

In August 2016, the two professors of English were ambushed by gunmen and taken from a vehicle while leaving their university campus in Kabul.

Before their release, the whereabouts of the two professors had not been known. Two videos featuring the captives had surfaced after their 2016 abduction. While they appeared pale and sickly in the first video, released in January 2017, a later video showed them in good health. In the video, they said their captors were treating them well and appealed to their governments to help negotiate their release. It is unclear if they were being forced to speak.

The condition of the two men remains unclear.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide welcomes this news with great relief. At the same time, ESW strongly protests and condemns the Taliban’s taking of foreign national scholars and students’ hostage for political gains.


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