We are profoundly pleased and relieved that Tim Weeks and his US colleague, Kevin King, who were held hostage since August 2016, have been released by their kidnappers today in Afghanistan.
The Australian Government offers its deepest appreciation to President Trump and the United States for their immeasurable assistance and cooperation, without which we would not be able to welcome Tim back today.
We also convey our deepest appreciation to the Government of Afghanistan, led by President Ghani, for its invaluable assistance with this case over the past three years.
We regard this release as one of a series of confidence-building measures that are taking place in Afghanistan. We hope that such measures will set the stage for a ceasefire and intra-Afghan dialogue.
The Australian Government has provided consular support to Tim’s family throughout this case. Several Australian agencies – including diplomatic, security and military personnel – were closely involved in efforts to secure his release.
Tim’s family has asked for privacy. They have asked the Australian Government to convey their relief that their long ordeal is over, and their gratitude to all those who have contributed to Tim’s safe return.
For privacy and operational reasons, the Australian Government will not comment further on the details of this case.
The Australian Government’s travel advice about Afghanistan is at the highest level: “do not travel”. Australians, including dual-national Australians, travelling to Afghanistan face an extremely dangerous security situation, including the risk of kidnapping, random terrorist attacks, and improvised explosive device attacks.