New Afghan Taliban video shows US, Australian hostages | News | DW | 11.01.2017

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New Afghan Taliban video shows US, Australian hostages

A new video showing two hostages pleading for their lives has been circulated online by the Afghan Taliban. The two men were kidnapped near the American University in Afghanistan five months ago.

Afghanistan Taliban Kämpfer in der Ghazni Provinz

Members of the Afghan Taliban in 2015

The video, released by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday, is the first apparent proof that the two hostages are still alive after being kidnapped on August 7.

Timothy Weeks, an Australian citizen, and his American colleague Kevin King were abducted by gunmen dressed as police near the the American University of Afghanistan, where both men were working as professors.

Shortly after their kidnapping, US Special Operations forces launched a mission, approved by US President Barack Obama, to rescue them. But when forces raided the supposed location of the hostages, they weren't there, the Pentagon said in September.

Amerikanische Universität in Afghanistan (picture alliance/dpa/J.Jalali)

The American University of Afghanistan

Hostage appeals to Trump for help

In the video, which according to Weeks was made on January 1, the two men urged president-elect Donald Trump to secure their release. Weeks said the Taliban is demanding that the US release prisoners at Bagram air field and at Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul in exchange for the release of the two men.

"They are being held there illegally and the Taliban has asked for them to be released in our exchange. If they are not exchanged for us then we will be killed," Weeks said.

"Donald Trump, sir, please, 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," he said.

Foreigners in Afghanistan are constantly at risk of being kidnapped. Last year, the Taliban released a video of another US hostage and her Canadian husband.

blc/ksb (AFP, Reuters)

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