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The Taliban has released a new video of two abducted foreign professors of the Kabul-based American University of Afghanistan in which the professors are calling on the U.S. government to enter a prisoner exchange deal with the militants.
American Kevin King and Australian Tim Weeks were kidnapped last August. In January, the Taliban released a video confirming that the men were under their custody.
In the second video released late Wednesday, King and Weeks appeal to U.S. President Donald Trump to arrange a prisoner exchange to secure their freedom, saying "I want to spend the rest of my life in the service of American people and in the service of humanity".
A number of key Taliban commanders including Anas Haqqani of the fierce Haqqani Network are under government custody. Last month, following a massive truck bombing in Kabul which killed up to 150 people and left more than 400 wounded, Afghans urged the government to hang these militants, but the government refrained.
Earlier this month, the university issued an "unconditional appeal" for the immediate release of the professors.
Kidnappings and kidnapping of foreigners in particular is a recurring phenomenon in Afghanistan involving both the militant factions as well as criminal syndicates.
Armed militants killed six workers of the International Committee of Red Cross and took two others with them in Jawzjan province in February. This was followed by another deadly incident in May when armed individuals killed a German woman and her Afghan guard, and kidnapped a Finnish woman from an international guesthouse in Kabul run by a Swedish-based charity, Operation Mercy.
Following this incident, the British government warned its citizens about "a very high and constant threat" to Westerners of kidnapping in Afghanistan, where 100 people have been kidnapped since 2001.
2017.06.22 / 18:02