HEARTBREAKING: Taliban releases video of tearful Australian hostage who begs for his life
THE Afghan Taliban has released a video showing an Australian hostage pleading with the US government to negotiate with his captors and saying that unless a prisoner exchange was agreed, he would be killed.
Timothy Weekes, an Australian teacher at the American University in Kabul and his American colleague Kevin King were seized near the campus in August.
“I don’t want to die here, not alone, not here. Please speak for me now, speak to the American government, and please, please help me secure my release,” a tearful Weekes said in the video.
The video, which Weekes said was made on New Year’s Day, showed the two professors, both bearded, asking their families to put pressure on the US government to help secure their release.
Weeks said “they look after us here and they treat us well. We eat what they eat”.
The 13-minute, 35-second video circulated by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid offers the first apparent proof that the hostages are still alive.
News Corp Australia has chosen not to publish the video.
The American University in Kabul released a statement calling on the Taliban to safely release the two professors along with all other hostages.
“All of us at the American University of Afghanistan students, staff, trustees and fellow faculty are saddened and pained by what we have seen in the video the Taliban released using our colleagues, Tim and Kevin.
“Kevin and Tim came to Afghanistan as teachers, to help Afghanistan. These innocent people have done nothing to harm anyone and need to be reunited with their family, friends and colleagues.
“Kevin and Tim, when you hear these words, know that we are with you, we support you, we care about you, and we want you home now. We hold you as part of our American University of Afghanistan family and as part of our family, we will work ceaselessly to do anything and everything in our power to help bring you home. We will not give up; we will not stop pressing all involved to do all they can. Our thoughts and prayers are with you constantly. We will not rest until you are back safely with us.”
The video comes after US Special Operations forces conducted a failed secret raid in August to rescue them.
President Barack Obama authorised the raid in an unspecified area of Afghanistan but the hostages were not there, the Pentagon said in September.
Addressing president-elect Donald Trump, who is due to take office on January 20, Weeks said the Taliban had asked for prisoners held at Bagram air field and at Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul to be exchanged for them.