Afghan Taliban say kidnapped US professor is seriously ill

Kevin King (AP)
Updated 30 October 2017

Afghan Taliban say kidnapped US professor is seriously ill

KABUL: The Afghan Taliban said on Monday that Kevin King, one of two professors from the American University of Afghanistan who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Kabul last year, is seriously ill and needs urgent medical attention.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said King, an American, was suffering from “dangerous” heart disease and 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.
“We have tried to treat him time to time but we do not have medical facilities as we are in a war situation,” he added.
King and his Australian colleague Timothy Weeks were kidnapped in August 2016 as they were returning to their compound in the Afghan capital.
Afghan and Western officials believe they are being held by the Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with the Taliban which has carried out many previous kidnappings. They acknowledge that an unsuccessful rescue attempt was made in eastern Afghanistan months after the two were taken.
The Taliban statement came around two weeks after Pakistani troops rescued Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman, who had been held by the Haqqanis since being kidnapped in 2012, from an area near the Afghan border.
Earlier this year, the Taliban released a video of King and Weeks, showing them pleading with their government to release Taliban prisoners in turn for their freedom.
Kidnapping high profile targets has become a lucrative business for the Taliban and other militant groups in Afghanistan who in return often demand huge ransom or release of their members.


UK PM says was obese but lost weight since virus scare

Updated 17 min 13 sec ago

UK PM says was obese but lost weight since virus scare

  • Boris Johnson: I am fitter than a butcher’s dog, thanks basically to losing weight
  • The 56-year-old spent three nights in intensive care in April after contracting Covid-19

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed Tuesday he was obese when he contracted coronavirus earlier this year, but after losing weight said he now felt much better.
The 56-year-old spent three nights in intensive care in April after contracting Covid-19, and there have been swirling questions about his health ever since.
“I am fitter than I was before, it may irritate you to know,” he said, when asked by a reporter about his health following a speech on education.
“I am fitter than a butcher’s dog, thanks basically to losing weight.
“When you reach 17 stone six (around 111 kg, 244 pounds) as I did, at a height of about five foot 10 (around 1.78 meters), it’s probably a good idea to lose weight, so that’s what I’ve done. And I feel much much better.”
An online calculator provided by the state-run National Health Service (NHS) suggests that a man with Johnson’s age, weight and height would have a body mass index (BMI) of 34.9 — classing him as obese.
It is not the first time Johnson has boasted about his health, using a newspaper interview in June to make the “butcher’s dog” analogy and even doing push-ups to prove his fitness.
But the issue has returned as a talking point amid disquiet among his Conservative lawmakers over his handling of a new uptick in coronavirus cases.
The outbreak has so far killed 42,000 people in Britain — the worst toll in Europe.
Johnson has recently been spotted running with a personal trainer in a park near his Downing Street office. As London mayor between 2008 and 2006, he was a keen cyclist.