Australia’s Weeks says hope helped him survive Taliban captivity

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MELBOURNE (Information) – Timothy Weeks, the Australian educational launched by the Taliban in November after being stored hostage for greater than three years, stated on Sunday that hope helped him survive the ordeal.

FILE PHOTO: Timothy Weeks speaks to the digicam whereas stored hostage by Taliban insurgents in an unknown location, stated to be Afghanistan, on this nonetheless picture taken from social media video stated to be shot January 1, 2017 and shared by pro-Taliban cahnnels. Social media through Information

Weeks and U.S. citizen Kevin King have been freed by the Taliban in return for the discharge of three Taliban commanders. The 2 have been kidnapped in August 2016 exterior Kabul’s American College of Afghanistan the place they labored.

Talking publicly for the primary time since his launch a visibly emotional Weeks stated that the “lengthy and tortuous ordeal” had a profound impact on him.

“At instances, I felt as if my demise was imminent and that I might by no means return to see those who I liked once more,” Weeks stated in Sydney in remarks televised by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “However, by the desire of God, I’m right here. I’m alive and I’m secure. And I’m free. There may be nothing else on the planet that I would like.”

He stated that he had by no means given up hope, though his freedom took longer than he anticipated.

“For those who quit hope, there may be little or no left for you,” he added.

Kidnapping has been a significant downside in Afghanistan for a few years. Most victims are Afghans and plenty of kidnappers are felony gangs in search of ransoms however foreigners have additionally been kidnapped for political ends.

The 50-year previous trainer from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, who returned to Australia on Thursday, additionally stated that he believed that there have been six makes an attempt made to free him and King, together with U.S. Navy SEAL forces in at the least one occasion.

“We have been woken within the morning at round 2 a.m. and we have been taken down into the tunnels. We have been advised by our guards that it was Daesh, and I’ve since learnt that I consider now that it was the Navy SEALs coming in to get us,” he stated.

He stated that though each have been handled “in addition to could possibly be anticipated”, they have been moved round numerous areas and generally stored in darkish cells.

Weeks stated he doesn’t hate the guards who have been watching him.

“Lots of people don’t admit this, however for me, they have been troopers. And troopers obey the instructions of their commanders. Then don’t get a alternative,” Weeks stated.

“A few of them have been so compassionate and such beautiful, beautiful folks. And it actually led me to consider… , how did they find yourself like this?”

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Enhancing by Christian Schmollinger