Former Taliban hostage Tim Weeks heads to Wagga for Christmas

Wagga-raised academic Tim Weeks with Afghan Ambassador H E Wahidullah Waissi. Picture: Tim Weeks
Wagga-raised academic Tim Weeks with Afghan Ambassador H E Wahidullah Waissi. Picture: Tim Weeks

Tim Weeks will celebrate Christmas in Wagga, surrounded by family, just weeks after being released by members of the Taliban.

"I'm just looking forward to spending some time in Wagga. It's been a long time, almost four years," Mr Weeks told The Daily Advertiser.

"I will see my family, but it will be very sad because my mother (Marie Weeks) passed away, two or three months after I was taken. That was something that upset me, obviously, quite a lot, because the whole time I was in there, they reassured me that she was OK. That was my biggest concern while I was in there."

Mrs Weeks, along with Celia Carter from Sydney and Robyn Pauley from Denver, Colorado, are who Mr Weeks refers to has his three mothers.

While Mr Weeks was being held by the Taliban, renowned Wagga ballet dancer and teacher Edna Busse died, not long after she celebrated her 100th birthday.

"I studied ballet for 10 years and only because of the discipline instilled in me by Edna was I able to get up and exercise every day," he said.

"Even when it was -10 and surrounded by snow outside. .

"She was an incredible woman and I owe many things in my life today to her."

A mayoral reception will be held on Tuesday at the Wagga City Council Chambers in honour of Mr Weeks, an academic who spent more than three years as a prisoner in Afghanistan.

Mr Weeks returned to Australia late in November after being released as part of a prisoner exchange deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, negotiated by American officials.

He and an American colleague had been detained since 2016 after being abducted at gunpoint outside the American University in Kabul, where they worked as teachers.

Mr Weeks has previously told the media that he never gave up hope of being released.

"I knew that I would leave that place eventually, it just took a little longer than I expected," he said.

"I feel a lot stronger now. I feel like if I've gone through this, I can do anything. It's given me a great sense of hope and a great sense of confidence."

Looking to the future, Mr Weeks is planning to undertake further studies and working towards both a Masters and a PhD.

"I'm waiting for a call at the moment from the National Security Adviser to President (Donald) Trump - Robert O'Brien - about meeting the President. That is my hope and I expressed the interest to do that," Mr Weeks said.

"Perhaps when I speak to him, I might ask him what opportunities there might be for me as I just spent three-and-a-half years representing American education, I'm hoping they might grant me an offer to study there.

"I'd like to get into probably doing the Masters in education, but the PhD I'm going to do in negotiation and conflict resolution."

Mr Weeks paid tribute to those who had helped him, from the US military base in Germany where he was initially treated, to Australia's diplomatic personnel.

This story Former Taliban hostage Tim Weeks heads to Wagga for Christmas first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.