Australian freed by Taliban believes US made multiple rescue attempts

Australian academic Timothy Weeks who has recently been released after being held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan holds a press conference in Sydney

Australian academic Timothy Weeks who has recently been released after being held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan holds a press conference in Sydney

An Australian teacher who arrived home this week after being held hostage by the Taliban for more than three years believes U.S. Navy SEALs attempted to rescue him six times, he told a press conference on December 1.

While expressing his gratitude to President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the work that led to his release, Weeks said some Taliban guards he found were "lovely people".

He said that he had never given up hope, although his freedom took longer than he expected. "I knew I would leave eventually", he said.

Kidnapping has been a major problem in Afghanistan for many years.

Timothy Weeks, 50, landed in Sydney on November 28 after being released by the terror group in Afghanistan last month as part of a prisoner exchange deal with United States, Australia and the Afghan government.

Weeks said that during their captivity, he and King were regularly moved to new locations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that their lives were constantly at risk.

Weeks, 50, said at a press conference Sunday that he thought the SEAL teams had repeatedly tried to save them, sometimes only after hours "after the two hostages were displaced by their captors".

He said he was woken at 2:00am by his guards, who told him they were under attack by "Daesh" (Islamic State) and hustled him into a tunnel under where he was being held.

Mr Weeks described one incident in April this year where he believed Navy SEALs attempted to rescue him.

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Flanked by his sisters Jo (right) and Alyssa Carter (left), he said he had been changed completely by the experience.

"Our guards went up and there was a lot of machine-gun fire", he said. Weeks said he was knocked unconscious when he fell over backward into the tunnel. "[They] don't get a choice".

"I do not hate them at all", he said.

"Some of them were so compassionate and such lovely, lovely people". And that really made me think about ... how did they end up like this?

Mr Weeks additionally recalled his launch, saying his ordeal "ended as abruptly because it had begun" as two US Black Hawk helicopters descended from the skies.

Media captionIs peace with the Taliban possible?

"Out of an enormous mud cloud got here six particular forces they usually walked in direction of us and considered one of them stepped in direction of me and he simply put his arm round me and he held me and he mentioned, 'Are you OK?' After which he walked me again to the Black Hawk".

"The time that I spent as a hostage with the Taliban has had a profound and unimaginable effect on me", he said.

However he by no means gave up hope as a result of "in the event you quit hope, there's little or no left for you". "However, by the desire of God, I'm right here, I'm alive and I'm secure - and I'm free".

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