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Afghan Taliban warn kidnapped US professor ‘in bad health’

The Taliban militant group in Afghanistan says an American professor kidnapped by the group is in dire health condition and needs urgent medical attention.

Kevin King, who is one of two professors from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) abducted in the capital, Kabul, last year, is in a “dangerous” health condition, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Monday.

According to Mujahid, King is suffering from heart and kidney problems and his health “worsens every day.”

It was not clear if the group intended to release him or was just asking for medical expertise.

After the announcement, the US State Department called for King’s immediate and unconditional release.

King and a co-worker from Australia named Timothy Weekes were kidnapped in August 2016 as they were returning to their compound in Kabul.

Timothy Weekes, from Australia, who has been kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan (File photo)

Earlier this year, the Taliban released a video of King and Weekes showing them pleading with their governments to release Taliban prisoners in turn for their freedom.

US and Afghan security experts believe the men were being held by the Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with the Taliban that has carried out many other kidnappings. They acknowledge that an abortive rescue operation was conducted in eastern Afghanistan months after the two were abducted.

The Taliban statement came around two weeks after Pakistani troops rescued Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman from an area near the Afghan border. They had been held by the Haqqanis since being kidnapped in 2012.

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