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Taliban say kidnapped US professor ‘seriously ill’

Taliban say kidnapped US professor ‘seriously ill’

Oct 30, 2017 - 17:44

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Taliban have said one of the two professors in their captivity, “the American is seriously ill and needs immediate medical attention.”

The Taliban kidnapped the two professors, Kevin King, 60, and his Australian colleague, Timothy Weeks, 48, at gunpoint from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul in August 2016.

In a statement on Monday, the Taliban asked the US to accept the group’s demands in exchange for the captives’ release.

The Taliban said Kevin King’s health condition was critical as he suffered from a “dangerous” heart disease and kidney problem.

“His illness has intensified, his feet have swollen, and sometimes he becomes unconscious and his condition worsens every day.”

"We have tried to treat him time to time but we do not have medical facilities as we are in a war situation.”

The Taliban asked the US to accept the group’s demands in order they release the held captives.

The group warned if America delayed taking a decision then they "should not be held responsible" if King died of illness.

The Taliban since abducting the professors have released a couple of videos showing the captives.

In January, the video features both men, pale and unshaven, asking President Donald Trump to begin negotiations with the militants and offer a prisoner swap for their freedom.

“If we stay here for much longer, we will be killed. I don’t want to die here,” Weeks said in the video, the Guardian reported. “Donald Trump, sir, I ask you, please. This is in your hands. I ask you please to negotiate with the Taliban. If you do not negotiate with them, we will be killed.”

The Taliban in their statement offered the US to release some political prisoners held in Bagram and Pul-i-Charkhi prisons in return for the release of the two professors.

There has been so far no reaction from the US about the Taliban’s new demands. However, US officials had earlier said if the Taliban killed the professors, then they would carry out attacks on the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a statement from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) expressed sadness over receiving the news about the professor’s health condition.

It said the Board of Trustees, students, staff and faculty members were deeply saddened and disturbed to receive the news about the deteriorating health condition of Kevin King.

“Mr. King and Mr. Weeks have been in captivity for more than a year, away from their loved ones. They are innocent victims of a criminal abduction.”

“They came to Afghanistan to teach Afghan youth and contribute to building a peaceful Afghanistan. They have done no harm to anyone. We strongly urge the Taliban to immediately release Mr. King and Mr. Weeks unharmed,” it added.

The statement addressed Kevin, saying “We are immensely sad to hear about your health situation. Please know that you and Tim remain in our thoughts and prayers. We will not stop trying to work for your release. We urge your kidnappers to release you at once.”