The Taliban captured Australian Timothy Weeks, left, and American Kevin King.

Two professors from the American University of Afghanistan, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, were released from Taliban captivity Tuesday as part of a prisoner exchange with the militant group previously announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The two men – American Kevin King, 63, and Australian Timothy Weeks, 50 – were ambushed at gunpoint while leaving the university in 2016. They last appeared in a video released in 2017 appealing to President Donald Trump to secure their release. In the video, they appear pale and gaunt. 

The Taliban prisoners were flown to Qatar for the expected swap for the American and Australian hostages, Taliban officials said Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately known if the two hostages were handed over to the Afghan government or U.S. forces.

There was no immediate White House reaction.

Ghani confirmed the deal in a televised speech last week and said he hoped the move would “pave the way for face-to-face” peace talks with the Taliban. He said the decision was made in coordination with the United States and international community.

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