An American and Australian professor kidnapped by the Taliban last August have appeared in a new video calling on President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to negotiate their freedom by releasing Taliban prisoners.
American Kevin King, 60, and Australian Timothy John Weeks, 48, were both working for the American University of Afghanistan when they were violently abducted by five Taliban gunmen dressed as Afghan military personnel last August.
In a video uploaded to encrypted messaging app Telegram and observed by The Foreign Desk, a frail looking King addresses the camera, stating the date as June 16, 2017, an effort to demonstrate that the video was recently filmed.
The Foreign Desk has been unable to verify the authenticity of the video.
King confirmed his capture by the Taliban on August 9, 2016, stating his captors were “treating him well” before adding “every prisoner’s final wish is to get freedom from the prison.”
Addressing President Trump as “America’s great President,” King says he “wants to spend the rest of his life in the service of the American people and the service of humanity… dear family and friends” and said he “doesn’t wish to spend his next birthday away from his family and do not want to sing happy Christmas alone in the walls of a prison, have mercy on me and please get me out.”
King cautions President Trump from attempting to resolve his kidnapping through military options, saying this would threaten both his and Weeks’ lives.
“Please do not send any commandos,” he says.
Instead, he urges President Trump to release prisoners the Taliban have demanded in exchange for his release.
“I follow your brave decisions. You consider the interests of the American people to be of great importance to you… For the benefit of the nation you take brave decisions without considering your own personal benefit. Take a brave decisions regarding my release, as well as considering your political benefits.”
King warns of the volatility in Afghanistan, saying, “Any incident at any time can take our lives.”
He also addresses First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner offering, “my best wishes from captivity,” begging them to urge President Trump to negotiate his release and urged members of Congress to “encourage an exchange deal with the Taliban.”
Finally, he urges members of the American media and the public to utilize social media to raise awareness of his plight and pressure the U.S. government to negotiate his release.
Australian professor Timothy John Weeks makes a similar plea urging Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turbull to negotiate his release.
“Speak to the Taliban, negotiate with the Taliban, I know you can do this, you have already freed one Australian captive from here and you have left me here” he says.
The pair last appeared in a video back in January, looking distraught and pleading with then President-Elect Trump to negotiate their release.