An Australian teacher held captive with an American colleague by the Taliban for more than three years believes U.S. special forces tried and failed six times to free them.
Timothy Weeks was released last month in a prisoner swap along with Kevin King, ending an ordeal that began with their abduction in 2016 outside the American University in Kabul, where they worked.
Weeks, 50, told a news conference on Sunday he believed that Navy SEAL teams tried repeatedly to rescue them, sometimes missing them only by 'hours' after the two hostages were moved to other locations by their captors.
'I believe, and I hope this is correct, that they came in six times to try to get us, and that a number of times they missed us only by hours,' Weeks said.
Timothy Weeks (pictured) spoke in public for the first time since his release from custody almost two weeks ago and thanked all those who helped secure his freedom
He and US colleague Kevin King were freed from custody in Afghanistan in November after being grabbed outside Kabul's American University in 2016
One attempt came in April this year. Weeks said he was woken at 2 a.m. by his guards, who told him they were under attack from Islamic State fighters, and moved him into a tunnel beneath where they were being held.
'I believe now that it was the Navy SEALs coming in to get us,' Weeks said. 'I believe they were right outside our door. The moment that we got into the tunnels, we were 1 or 2 meters underground and there was a huge bang at the front door. And our guards went up and there was a lot of machine-gun fire. They pushed me over the top into the tunnels and I fell backwards and rolled and knocked myself unconscious.'
Flanked by his sisters Jo (right) and Alyssa Carter (left), he said he had been changed completely by the experience.
Weeks said he and King were shifted through various remote locations in Afghanistan and