The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing an American and an Australian who were kidnapped in August, the first time they've been seen since their abduction. The two men, an American identified as Kevin King and an Australian identified as Timothy Weekes, were abducted outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, where they worked as teachers. US officials said in September that American forces had launched a rescue mission, but the captives weren't at the raided location. In the video, sent to media by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the men appear pale and unshaven, the AP reports. They say they're speaking on Jan. 1.
In the video, apparently delivering a message on behalf of the kidnappers, the men ask President-elect Donald Trump to offer a prisoner exchange to secure their freedom. State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to comment on the case, citing privacy considerations, but he added: "Taking and holding civilian hostages is reprehensible and we condemn such actions in the strongest terms." Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a statement saying the Australian government has been "working closely with other governments" to secure the release of a kidnapped Australian. (A video released last month shows a kidnapped American, her Canadian husband, and the two children they had in captivity.)