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Taliban Announces Korean Hostage Negotiations Have Failed

Taliban Announces Korean Hostage Negotiations Have Failed

Posted July. 26, 2007 03:32,   


The Taliban militants holding 23 South Koreans hostages on Wednesday announced a failure in negotiations for the release of the Korean hostages in exchange for Taliban prisoners, and threatened to kill some of the Korean abductees.

"The Taliban announced on Wednesday at about 6 p.m. local time that the talks between the Afghan and South Korean governments have failed,” reported The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP). However, it is not confirmed yet whether the threat was made to put pressure on the Afghan government or whether it is a real ultimatum.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a purported spokesman for the Taliban, criticized the Afghan and South Korean governments for their insincerity in the negotiations, saying, “We have sent a list of eight Taliban prisoners to be freed, but haven’t received any reply so far.”

He argued, “Our patience is running out and we declared the failure of the negotiations. Some of the Korean hostages will be executed till 2:00 p.m. local time (KST 6:30 p.m.)."

But the negotiation delegation of the Afghan government said that talks are still underway. Muhammad Hussein of the Afghan negotiation team said, “There was no sign of the failure of the talks when I talked to the Taliban over the phone.” Waheedullah Mujaddidi, head of the Afghan team, also said, “Talks are still going on.”

This discord in their remarks indicates that the talks with the Taliban over the lives of the Korean hostages in exchange of Taliban prisoners are dragging on. The Afghan government has been reluctant to accept the Taliban’s demands. Regarding the reports of the foreign news outlets over the threat by the Taliban to kill Korean hostages, a South Korean government official stated, “We have not received any information like that, and do not feel obligated to respond to such unfounded reports.”

He also stressed concerning the suggestion of some of abductees’ release, “We believe all the 23 Korean hostages should be released as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, South Korean foreign minister Song Min-soon attended a joint meeting of the parliament`s unification, foreign affairs and trade committee and the defense committee and said, “We confirmed that none of the kidnapped Koreans suffer from health problems. There was one person who showed some health trouble at first, but we have now confirmed that the person is fine now," explaining that, “The aid workers were able to look after each other.” He added, “"We are preparing to send necessities, including medical items, to the kidnapped."

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