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“We Exchange Opinions with Taliban”

Posted August. 10, 2007 05:46,   


Amid news that the Korean government and the Taliban have almost reached an agreement on where to meet to discuss the release of Korean hostages held in Afghanistan, the two sides are reportedly exchanging related information with secrecy.

A Korean government official said today, “We haven’t reached an agreement as to when and where we will meet. We’re exchanging opinions in a brisk manner.”

Masum Shahim, a purported spokesman for Abdullah Zahn, a Taliban commander in the Ghazni region, said in an indirect phone interview with Yonhap News, “We can accept the meeting venue proposed by the Afghan government but we demand a U.N. guarantee for our safe return.”

Not long after the incident broke out, Wahidullah Mujadidi, an Afghan congressman representing Ghazni who was involved in the negotiation process with the Taliban, proposed a meeting at his house in the city of Ghazni or at his religious building.

The health of the hostages has improved due to medical supplies from private hospitals of Afghanistan and the Korean government. Shahim said, “We treated the hostages with medicine from Wahaz hospital, and the hostages are feeling better in general.”

In the meantime, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said in a meeting with Afghan and Pakistani representatives held at Kabul, “In the Afghan history, no woman has ever been kidnapped, and in this regard, the Korean hostage situation is a historic disgrace,” criticizing the Taliban.

gold@donga.com jin0619@donga.com