A professor from the American University of Afghanistan who was kidnapped by Taliban-linked militants last year is in dire medical condition and needs advanced treatment, the Afghan Taliban said Monday.
Kevin King, one of two professors being held by the notorious Haqqani network, is suffering from “dangerous” heart disease and kidney problems, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
“His illness has intensified, his feet have swollen and sometimes he becomes unconscious and his condition worsens every day,” Mujahid said in a statement, according to Reuters.
“We have tried to treat him time to time but we do not have medical facilities as we are in a war situation,” he added.
King and his Australian colleague Timothy Weeks were kidnapped in Kabul in August 2016 as they were returning to their residences in the Afghan capital. Afghan and U.S. officials say King and Weeks are in the custody of the Haqqani network, a militant group that frequently conducts kidnap-for-ransom operations.
The Haqqani network was also responsible of the kidnapping of Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle in Afghanistan in 2012. The couple and their three children, who were born in captivity, were freed from the network by Pakistani forces in a rescue operation earlier this month. (RELATED: Freed Taliban Captive Says Militants Killed His Daughter, Raped Wife)
The 61-year-old King is reportedly in “serious condition” due to his heart disease and requires hospitalization, reports NBC News, citing a Taliban commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The group has not been able to arrange for the level of treatment that King’s condition requires, according to the commander.
“Whatever we could do, we did to save his life but it’s beyond our capacity and resources to provide him the quality of care he needs,” the Taliban commander said.
Once a favorite of the CIA in the fight to expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, the Haqqani network has fought against NATO forces throughout the entire U.S.-led occupation. The U.S. has criticized Pakistan for ignoring or sheltering Haqqani militants within its borders, a charge Islamabad has denied.
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