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Korea Blocked Rescue Operations to Free Hostages

Posted August. 14, 2007 07:13,   


South Korean officials have twice blocked rescue missions to free 21 of their countrymen held by Taliban rebels, reported the Times on August 13.

According to the Times, on one occasion Afghan and U.S. troops identified the places where the hostages were being held and were mobilized and ready to storm the Taliban positions. Separately, Afghan secret police were ready to arrest the families of the Taliban commanders involved as a way of applying pressure. But Korean officials vetoed the plans over fears that they would cause more bloodshed.

Ustad Merajuddin Pathan, the governor of Ghazni Province, said, ““The reason we have not launched a military operation is Korea asked us not to. They are sure they will solve this by talking face to face.” He also claimed that the hostages are being held at the village of Malang Khali in Qarabagh district of Ghazni.

Abdul Rahim, head of the highway police in the Qarabagh district where the Koreans were abducted, said: “The governor wanted to launch a military operation but the Korean authorities refused.” According to Rahim, the South Koreans were being held by three different commanders. He said: “The commanders all have different opinions – some want money and some want the prisoners released. It makes negotiations very difficult.”

Afghan officials in Ghazni have little sympathy for the hostages. Many believe that they were in Afghanistan to preach Christianity. There was also incredulity that they were traveling from Kabul to Kandahar, one of the most dangerous roads in the country, without informing the police.

Meanwhile, according to the Times, it has also emerged that the driver of the bus transporting the evangelical Christians is suspected of tipping off the Taliban about their route. The bus driver has been arrested.