Afghanistan’s Taliban has released a video message of two foreign hostages, an American and an Australian, five months after they were seized at gunpoint in Kabul.
The captives, Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weeks, are shown pleading with the United States to negotiate their release with the Taliban to save their lives.
The pair were teaching at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul before they were seized at gunpoint in early August near the campus.
King and Weeks addressed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, saying the Taliban is demanding release of its prisoners from the U.S.-run Bagram Airfield and at Pul-e-Charkhi, an Afghan detention center outside Kabul.
They both asked their families to press the U.S. government to secure their freedom.
“We hope that you can put pressure on them so that they will negotiate more and arrange an exchange for us for some Taliban soldiers. So, please talk to them because we don’t know how much longer the Taliban will be patient,” King said.
In his message, Weeks said the video was filmed on January 1; he cried while appealing for their release.
American forces reportedly attempted to rescue the hostages days after they were abducted but failed because the hostages were not found at the raid location, somewhere in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.
In a statement released to media along with the video, the Taliban warned against any such attempt in future, saying “the use of force can throw their prisoners into extreme danger.”
“If the opposing side solves this issue rationally, there would have been no reason for the publication of a video,” it said.