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Freed Australian Captive Of Taliban Describes 'Long And Tortuous Ordeal'

Timothy Weeks (left) and Kevin King speak to the camera while kept hostage by Taliban insurgents in 2017.

Timothy Weeks, the Australian academic released by the Taliban after more than three years in captivity, has spoken publicly for the first time since being freed -- saying his “long and tortuous ordeal” had a profound effect on him.

"At times, I felt as if my death was imminent and that I would never return to see those that I loved again," Weeks said on December 1 in remarks televised by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Weeks and U.S. citizen Kevin King were kidnapped in August 2016 outside Kabul’s American University of Afghanistan.

The two were freed in November by the Taliban in return for the release of three Taliban commanders. Weeks returned to Australia on November 28.

Weeks, a 50-year old teacher from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, told the Australian broadcaster on December 1 that he thinks there were six attempts made to free him and King.

He said he thinks U.S. Navy SEAL forces were involved in at least one rescue attempt.

"We were woken in the morning at around 2 a.m. and we were taken down into the tunnels,” Weeks said, adding that his guards told him they were being moved because of an attack by Islamic State extremists against the Taliban.

“I believe now that it was the Navy SEALs coming in to get us," Weeks said.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, BBC, and the Australian Broadcasting Corp