U.S. hostage in Afghanistan seriously ill, Taliban says

An American professor kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan last year is seriously ill, the insurgent group said in a statement Monday.

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Kevin King and Australian colleague Tim Weeks, each a professor at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, were abducted on Aug. 7, 2016, as they traveled through the Afghan capital.

The Taliban identified King, 61, as “the American teacher” in its statement Monday — saying he has a “dangerous heart and kidney disease.”

“We have periodically tried to treat and care for him but since we are facing war conditions and do not readily have access to health facilities, [and] therefore we are unable to deliver complete treatment,” the statement said. “The condition of the said teacher has exponentially worsened, his feet have begun swelling, he frequently losses consciousness and his health is deteriorating rapidly.”

The Taliban’s statement called for “the American side” to accept their demands to secure the freedom of King and Weeks.

U.S. officials said last month that a rescue mission was attempted, but the hostages were not present in the expected location.

A statement from the college on Monday called the hostages “innocent victims of a criminal abduction.”

“They came to Afghanistan to teach Afghan youth and contribute to building a peaceful Afghanistan. They have done no harm to anyone,” it said. “We strongly urge the Taliban immediately to release Mr. King and Mr. Weeks unharmed.”

By Ed Adamczyk