Australia

Video surfaces of Aussie Taliban hostage

Afghan broadcast network TOLOnews has published a video of Timothy Weeks and accompanying article claiming he has returned to Afghanistan.

An Australian academic who was held hostage by the Taliban for three years has been filmed, apparently back in Afghanistan, praising the regime’s one year in power.

Afghan broadcast network TOLOnews on Saturday morning published a video of Timothy Weeks and an accompanying article claiming he had returned to Kabul.

In the 46-second clip, Mr Weeks says: “I first came to Afghanistan six years ago, as you know, in 2016, and I came here with a dream to learn about Afghanistan”.

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“And now I’m coming again to complete my journey. This is the part two of my journey.

“I am also coming to celebrate the one year anniversary of the governments of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, who I have stood behind.

“I spent three and a half years with Taliban soldiers and I saw these people in a light that nobody else has been able to do.”

Afghan broadcast network TOLOnews has published a video of Timothy Weeks and accompanying article claiming he has returned to Afghanistan. Picture: TOLOnews
Afghan broadcast network TOLOnews has published a video of Timothy Weeks and accompanying article claiming he has returned to Afghanistan. Picture: TOLOnews

Mr Weeks and his American colleague Kevin King were abducted by Taliban soldiers in 2016 outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Mr Weeks returned home to regional NSW in late 2019 after he and Mr King were released as part of a prisoner swap deal with the US.

Shortly after his return to Australia, Mr Weeks spoke publicly about the toll his 1200-day ordeal had taken on him and his family

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“The time I spent as hostage with the Taliban has had a profound and unimaginable effect on me,” he said in Sydney at the time.

“I struggled to find words to express just how completely this has changed me.

“At times I felt as if my death was imminent and that I would never return to see those that I loved again.”

Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks, with his sister Alyssa Carter at a press conference in December 2019 following his return to Australia. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian.
Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks, with his sister Alyssa Carter at a press conference in December 2019 following his return to Australia. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian.

The new video of Mr Weeks comes after an Australian journalist alleged she was threatened with jail if she did not tweet an apology to the Taliban over articles she had written about the regime forcing teenage girls into marriage and sex slavery.

Lynne O’Donnell, a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine, wrote a piece for the publication in July, alleging she had been detained, abused and forced to post a series of tweets stating her articles were false.

The Taliban fundamentalist Islamic militant group seized control of Kabul last year after allied troops withdrew from the Afghan capital. It now calls itself the Islamic Emirate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has been contacted for comment.

Federal political reporter

Canberra

Catie McLeod is a reporter at the NCA NewsWire covering federal politics in the Canberra Press Gallery for the News Corp mastheads in print and online. Before this she worked in the Sydney bureau where she cove… Read more

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