National News

Aussie Tim Weeks in good spirits: Morrison

tim weeks announcement 20191120001433692063 original

Australian Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne addresses the media at Sydney International Airport, in Sydney, Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australian academic Tim Weeks is in good spirits after being released by the Taliban.

Mr Weeks and his American colleague Kevin King were freed overnight, three years after they were abducted in Afghanistan.

tim weekes and kevin king 20191119001433571016 original

This two photo combination image taken from video released June 21, 2017, by the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, shows kidnapped teachers Australian Timothy Weeks, top, and American Kevin King. (EL-EMARA Taliban via AP, File)

"The foreign minister has spoken to the family this morning and as a result, as you'd expect, they are just completely overjoyed," Mr Morrison told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

"Also for Mr King, I'm sure his family there are equally overjoyed."

The prime minister thanked the United States for ending "three years of absolute hell" for Mr Weeks.

"Obviously the family has now asked that their privacy now be respected but I understand he is, under the circumstances, in good condition and he's currently going through all of those assessments as you'd expect."

"This has been a great piece of work done in the interests of both of these gentlemen, and we couldn't be more pleased to finally get them out safely and get them home to their families."

Mr Weeks, 50, and Mr King, 63, who were grabbed outside the American University in Kabul in 2016, were freed in exchange for three members of the Taliban.

The two men were handed over to US forces in southern Afghanistan and flown out of the country by chopper.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham indicated Mr Weeks, from Wagga Wagga in NSW, was in the care of US officials and receiving medical care on Wednesday morning.

Mr Weeks' father Mervyn was notified of his release in a phone call from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mervyn Weeks told ABC he was very relieved but that he had yet to speak to his son and was unsure of his whereabouts and plans.

A Weeks' family statement on Tuesday night asking for privacy.

"We are grateful for the efforts of the Australian government in securing Tim's release," it read.

"We would like to thank the United States government for the significant role it played in securing Tim's freedom and acknowledge the important contribution of the government of Afghanistan.

"We thank our friends and extended family for their love and support over the past three years during this very difficult time.

"While we understand the intense public interest in Tim's release, we do not want to comment further."

Mr Morrison issued a joint statement with Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne overnight, which thanked US President Donald Trump and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

"We regard this release as one of a series of confidence-building measures that are taking place in Afghanistan. We hope that such measures will set the stage for a ceasefire and intra-Afghan dialogue," the statement read.

© AAP 2019