The Taliban on Monday said the health of one of the Kabul-based American University professors they had kidnapped over a year ago is critical.

In August 2016, the Taliban had abducted two professors — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weekes — while they were travelling in a university vehicle to their residence in Kabul.

“One of them, the American professor, Kevin King, is suffering from critical heart disease (cardiac arrest) and kidney illness (renal illness),” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement sent to Efe news.

King’s illness “has intensified, his feet have swollen and sometimes he becomes unconscious and his condition is getting critical every day”, Mujahid added.

He urged the US to secure his release in exchange for freeing Taliban prisoners being held at the Bagram base in north Afghanistan.

The Taliban “are in a war situation and don’t have access to good health care and treatment, so we can’t provide full treatment to him”, the statement said.

Earlier this year, both hostages had appeared in a video pleading with then US President-elect Donald Trump to agree to the Taliban’s conditions.