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Afghan Taliban Says Kidnapped U.S. Professor In 'Dangerous' Health

Afghan women students who were trapped inside the premises during an attack by militants are escorted by Afghan police at the end of a nearly 10-hour raid at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in August 2016.

The Afghan Taliban says an American professor who was kidnapped in Kabul last year is in "dangerous" physical health and needs urgent medical attention.

Kevin King is one of two professors from the American University of Afghanistan who were kidnapped at gunpoint near campus in August 2016. The other was Australian Timothy Weeks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said King, 60, was suffering from heart disease and a kidney problem.

"His illness has intensified, his feet have swollen, and sometimes he becomes unconscious and his condition worsens every day," Mujahid said in a statement issued on October 29.

"We have tried to treat him [from] time to time but we do not have medical facilities, as we are in a war situation," Mujahid added.

The U.S. State Department called for the immediate and unconditional release of King and other hostages.

The extremist Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan and allied with the Taliban, is believed to be behind the kidnappings.

In June, the Taliban released a video of King and Weeks and urged Washington to negotiate their freedom with the group.

The video's release came as Afghan authorities were planning to execute a group of Taliban prisoners convicted on terrorism charges, including Anas Haqqani, a son of the founder of the Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

With reporting by Reuters
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