Australian academic Tim Weeks has been released by the Taliban, along with his American colleague Kevin King, three years after they were abducted in Afghanistan.
Mr Weeks, 50, and Mr King, 63, who were grabbed outside the American University in Kabul in 2016, were freed in exchange for three members of the Taliban's Haqqani Network.
The two men were handed over to US forces in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province and flown out in a US helicopter, The Associated Press reports.
Mr King's family released a statement saying he was safe with US officials and getting the medical care he needs before his return home to be reunited with his family.
On Tuesday morning Washington time (Wednesday AEDT), White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham indicated Mr Weeks, from Wagga Wagga in NSW, was also in the care of US officials and receiving medical care.
Mr Weeks' father Mervyn was notified of his release in a phone call from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr Mervyn Weeks told ABC he was very relieved but that he had yet to speak to his son and was unsure of his whereabouts and plans.
"We are grateful for the efforts of the Australian government in securing Tim's release,” A Weeks' family statement on Tuesday night said.
“We would like to thank the United States government for the significant role it played in securing Tim's freedom and acknowledge the important contribution of the government of Afghanistan.
"We thank our friends and extended family for their love and support over the past three years during this very difficult time.
"While we understand the intense public interest in Tim's release, we do not want to comment further."
We are profoundly pleased and relieved Australian Tim Weeks & his US colleague, Kevin King, who were held hostage since August 2016, have been released by their kidnappers today in Afghanistan. We convey deep appreciation to the Governments of the United States & Afghanistan.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 19, 2019
Prime Minister Scott Morrison late on Tuesday night tweeted his relief at Mr Weeks' release and said he was "profoundly pleased".
He expressed his deep gratitude to the US and Afghanistan governments and said the Weeks family had asked for privacy.
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