The family of a Montgomery County native who was held hostage by the Taliban for more than three years on Thursday thanked President Donald Trump, military leaders, and others for their work in securing his release this week.
“We are so happy to hear that my brother has been freed and is on his way home to us,” Kevin C. King’s sister, Stephanie Miller, said in a statement. “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.”
King, 63, was one of two professors released Tuesday as part of a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Taliban and the Afghan government. In exchange, three top Taliban figures were freed.
In addition to Trump, Miller and her husband thanked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and “numerous members of the US Government who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to free Kevin.” They also thanked the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell for its support.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who is being held hostage around the world, as well as the families who are trying everything in their power to experience the joy that we experienced when we received the news of Kevin’s release,” Miller said in the statement.
King was born in Norristown and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, where his relatives live. He and Australian Timothy Weeks were teachers at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul when they were abducted at gunpoint outside the school in August 2016.
According to an Afghan official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, several military operations were conducted over the years in an effort to rescue the men.
King was being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany on Thursday, officials said. He and Weeks were met by U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell and Australian Ambassador Lynette Wood after arriving late Wednesday, a U.S. official said.
Grenell told Fox News that he presented King with an American flag when he met him at the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein base and told him: “We never forgot about you.”
Grenell said King then told him, “I know that, and that is what sustained me all these years.”
This article contains information from the Associated Press.