James W. Foley Legacy Foundation Welcomes Release of Kevin King from Taliban Captivity

A road between mountains in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation welcomes the Taliban’s release of American Kevin C. King and Australian Timothy J. Weeks. Kidnapped at gunpoint in 2016, King and Weeks have spent over three years in the Taliban’s captivity. Both were professors at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

“We are relieved to learn that Kevin King will soon be reunited with his family after more than three years in the Taliban’s captivity. We are grateful to the U.S. government for its continued efforts to free its citizens who have been kidnapped abroad,” said Diane Foley, president and founder of the foundation. “This issue must be a constant priority until all Americans held hostage or unjustly detained abroad are released.”   

King’s family welcomed the news in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“We are so happy to hear that my brother has been freed and is on his way home to us,” said King’s sister, Stephanie Miller in a press release. “This has been a long and painful ordeal for our entire family, and his safe return has been our highest priority. We appreciate the support we have received and ask for privacy as we await Kevin’s safe return.”

In the last three years, the Trump administration has secured the freedom of 20-30 American hostages held abroad. But several Americans, including Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who was working as a CIA contractor when he was arrested by the Iranian government in 2007 in Iran, still remain in captivity abroad, both at the hands of foreign governments and non-state actors. 

 “We remain deeply concerned for the many Americans who continue to be detained abroad at the hands of terrorist organizations and foreign governments,” Foley said. “We will not stop advocating for their release until they come home, and we will continue to work with the U.S. government to facilitate their swift return.” 

A report released by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in June, “Bringing Americans Home,” found that U.S. hostage policy has improved since 2015 reforms after the death of James Foley and three other Americans at the hands of ISIS. Yet the report highlighted areas where improvements are still needed, including greater transparency in the U.S. government’s communication with hostage families, continued prioritization of hostage recovery, and more attention to cases of Americans unlawfully detained by foreign governments. 

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation has advocated for the freedom of all Americans held hostage abroad since its founding in 2014 after the murder of American independent conflict journalist Jim Foley while in ISIS captivity in Syria.  

For more information, contact: Margaux Ewen, margaux.ewen@jamesfoleyfoundation.org, 917-213-3028