17 January, Tuesday

Taliban video shows US and Australian hostages


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The Taliban have released video of an Australian and an American who they kidnapped in Afghanistan last year.
American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weekes were professors at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.
They were abducted in August from their vehicle outside the university by gunmen in security forces uniforms.
Later that month US forces in Afghanistan failed in an attempt to rescue the men, the Pentagon said.
In the video, which purports to have been shot on 1 January and was posted online, the men say they have been kept "in good condition".
But they appeal to US President-elect Donald Trump to offer a prisoner swap for their release, saying they will be killed if he does not negotiate.
This image made from video released by the Taliban on 11 January 2017 shows an American man identified as Kevin King making a statement on camera while in captivity.
Helicopters of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade at Forward Operating Base Ghazni, Afghanistan on May 17, 2013
The US State Department declined to comment on the video or confirm its authenticity, other than to "condemn" hostage-taking.
Australia's foreign ministry said the "Australian government has been working closely with other governments to secure the release of an Australian man kidnapped in Afghanistan in August 2016," but declined to comment further "in the interests of his own safety and well-being".


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