The American University of Afghanistan’s president Kenneth Holland issued a Facebook video message on Tuesday appealing for the release of Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, two of the university’s professors kidnapped in 2016.
August marks the second anniversary of the kidnapping of the two English professors.
US citizen King, along with Australian national Weeks, were kidnapped shortly after leaving the university compound on Darulaman Road on the evening of August 7, 2016.
In his video message on Tuesday, Holland said: “The kidnappers have asked for the exchange of our professors for political prisoners being held by the Afghanistan government; there is nothing the university can do to secure their release; we therefore urge the kidnappers to immediately release our innocent professors who came here to Afghanistan for the humanitarian purpose of educating young people; they are English teachers; they have no other purpose here but to help young people in Afghanistan to have a bright future.
“Their health has been deteriorating over the past two years and they are in urgent need of medical treatment,” Holland said.
He went on to say that on humanitarian grounds the university begs the kidnappers to release the two professors so that they can get the medical care they need and that they can be reunited with their families.
In January last year, the Taliban released a video of the two professors, who pleaded with the then US president-elect Donald Trump to help secure their release.
The video was uploaded to YouTube and apparently filmed on 1 January – in the first public sign of life of the two teachers since their abduction.
In the 13-minute video, the pair – who are visibly distraught and occasionally break into sobs – beg the American government to negotiate with their captors.
“If we stay here for much longer, we will be killed. I don’t want to die here,” Weeks says in the video.
“Donald Trump, sir, I ask you, please. This is in your hands. I ask you please to negotiate with the Taliban. If you do not negotiate with them, we will be killed,” Weeks said, adding that he feared he would not see his gravely ill mother again.
Following the release of the video, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the American professor had a "dangerous" heart disease and a kidney problem, Reuters reported.
“His illness has intensified, his feet have swollen and sometimes he becomes unconscious and his condition worsens every day,” Mujahid said in a statement.
No news has however been released on the condition of the two hostages since the release of the video.