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“Three or Four Female Hostages Likely to Be Released”

Posted August. 29, 2007 07:22,   


The fourth round of face-to-face negotiations between the South Korean delegation and the Taliban for the release of 19 South Korean hostages in Afghanistan began on Tuesday.

This negotiation round resumed 12 days after the previous one. Many foreign press outlets are predicting that a concrete deal will be reached.

Ghazni Governor Marajuddin Pathan said to the AFP on Tuesday, “The face-to-face talks have just started. I expect a positive outcome.” The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP), a local news agency, also said, “The negotiations began in the Red Crescent Office, and a third party is also involved in the talks.”

Taliban commander Abdullah Zhan, who is said to be detaining the hostages, told the AFP, “At the request of the Taliban, two Indonesian diplomats joined the talks.” The AIP reported, “The Taliban are emphasizing guarantees made by a third party.”

Many foreign press outlets predict that the two parties are in the final phase of coordinating an agreement.

Yonhap News Agency quoted the local news media that the negotiations will likely be the last ones to be held. A source, who claimed to be deeply involved in the talks, said over the phone, “I am satisfied that both parties accepted their partner’s requests. The release of all the hostages can be predicted.”

CBS News quoted a Taliban commander as saying, “After Tuesday’s negotiation, the Taliban is likely to release three or four female hostages first and then the rest in a few weeks in small groups.”

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Cheon Ho-seon said, “We cannot unveil the deal in detail. This moment seems to be very important.”

Meanwhile, three high-level officials of the Korea Muslim Federation began a movement to urge the release of the Korean hostages in Pakistan.

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