Taliban release video showing American, Australian captives
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Taliban release video showing American, Australian captives

Hostages deliver message on behalf of captors, ask Trump to arrange prisoner exchange to secure their freedom

This composite image made from video released by the Taliban on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 shows an American identified as Kevin King, right, and an Australian identified as Timothy Weekes making a statement on camera while in captivity.  (militant video via AP)
This composite image made from video released by the Taliban on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 shows an American identified as Kevin King, right, and an Australian identified as Timothy Weekes making a statement on camera while in captivity. (militant video via AP)

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing an American and an Australian who were kidnapped in August, the first time they have been seen since their abduction.

The two men, an American identified as Kevin King and an Australian identified as Timothy Weekes, were abducted outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, where they worked as teachers.

US officials said in September that American forces had launched a rescue mission, but the captives weren’t at the raided location.

In the video, sent to media by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the pair appears pale and unshaven. They say they are speaking on Jan. 1. In the video, apparently delivering a message on behalf of the kidnappers, they ask US President-elect Donald Trump to offer a prisoner exchange to secure their freedom.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said US authorities were studying the video and could not confirm its authenticity. He declined to comment on the case, citing privacy considerations, but he added: “Taking and holding civilian hostages is reprehensible and we condemn such actions in the strongest terms.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the video.

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