SYDNEY – Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that a professor who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2016 was “coming home” and thanked the governments of the United States and Afghanistan.
Australian Timothy Weeks and his American colleague Kevin King, who in 2016 were abducted outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul where they worked, were released by the Taliban on Tuesday in exchange for Kabul releasing three senior militants.
“An enormous relief that Australian Tim Weeks, who has been held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for 3 years, is safe and on his way home,” Morrison said on Twitter on Wednesday.
In Brisbane, he told reporters that Weeks was now in “a safe place” and undergoing assessments, and thanked the governments of Afghanistan and the United States.
The prisoners released by the Afghan government, who have arrived in Qatar, were Anas Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network that has claimed several deadly attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, as well as Hajji Mali Khan and Abdul Rashid.
Washington and the insurgent group were negotiating a peace agreement, which the Taliban said was already finalized, when in September US President Donald Trump canceled the process abruptly after an attack in Kabul that killed an American.