Australian teacher arrives home after spending more than three years held captive by the Taliban in the Middle East
- Australian Timothy Weeks, 50, returned home to Sydney on Thursday night
- He was kidnapped by the Taliban with American Kevin King, 63, in August 2016
- The men were teachers at the American University of Afghanistan at the time
- Senator Marise Payne said ‘It’s an enormous relief for him and for his family’
An Australian teacher has arrived home after being held hostage by the Taliban for more than three years.
Timothy Weeks, 50, and his American colleague, Kevin King, 63, were released as part of a prisoner swap deal last week.
Mr Weeks and Mr King were working at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul when they were kidnapped at gun point near the campus in August 2016.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne told ABC Radio Mr Weeks flew into Sydney on Thursday night.
Timothy Weeks, 50, a teacher from Wagga Wagga NSW, was kidnapped by the Taliban while working in Afghanistan
‘I am very pleased to confirm that Tim has returned to Australia and very much welcome his return,’ she said.
‘It has been an extraordinarily long three years for him and for his family.’
In 2017 the Taliban issued two videos of their hostages, the ABC reports.
In the videos, Mr Weeks, who is originally from Wagga Wagga NSW, pleaded with then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President-elect Donald Trump to negotiate his release.
US forces attempted to rescue the men at a militant hide out but when they arrived the prisoners had been moved.
Senator Payne, who has been closely involved in Mr Weeks’s case, said she spoke to him earlier this week.
‘It’s an enormous relief for him and for his family, there’s a lot of people who contributed to this being able to happen, including the Afghanistan Government, including the US,’ she said.
The men were freed in exchange for the release of three Taliban commanders.
The swap between the US and Afghanistan government was intended to try to restart talks to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war and allow for the eventual withdrawal of US troops from the country.
The teachers spent more than three years detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan