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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Evil continues: Body of 2nd Korean hostage found in central Afghanistan

Afghan police found the body of a second South Korean hostage early Tuesday, hours after a video emerged depicting seven other hostages huddling together.

The blood-soaked body was discovered on the side of a road in the Arizo Kalley village in central Afghanistan, just a few kilometres from the spot where 23 South Korean Christian aid workers were kidnapped 12 days ago, said administration official Abdul Rahim Deciwal.

The slain hostage has not been identified. His death comes a week after kidnappers shot and killed hostage Bae Hyung-kyu, a 42-year-old pastor.

Monday evening, a purported Taliban spokesman announced that the kidnappers had shot the second hostage. Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the Taliban decided to kill the second man because the Afghan government has not released Taliban prisoners.

"The Kabul and Korean governments are lying and cheating. They did not meet their promise of releasing Taliban prisoners," said Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban.

"The Taliban warns the government if the Afghan government won't release Taliban prisoners then at any time the Taliban could kill another Korean hostage."

As news of the latest killing broke, Al-Jazeera broadcast a new video of the hostages. The silent, shaky video footage showed the seven women cowering together, but it didn't indicate when or where the footage was taken.
'Please send my children back'

In South Korea, relatives of the hostages gathered in a church in Bundang, near Seoul, to watch 24-hour news broadcasts and console each other. Seo Jung-bae, whose son and daughter are among the captives, said his children went to Afghanistan to help Afghans in need.

"Please, please send my children back so I can hold them in my arms," Seo Jung-bae told reporters, in the hopes that the kidnappers would be made aware of his pleas.

"Our families are the same. Your family is precious, so is mine."

Earlier Monday, militants extended their deadline to Wednesday after again threatening to kill the hostages unless the government releases some Taliban fighters.

The militants agreed to the two-day extension to allow time for additional negotiations over the Taliban prisoners' release, said Pathan.

The extension came after Ahmadi set and let two deadlines pass on Monday — the latest expiring at 4 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. ET) — without any word on the fate of the hostages.

The hostages, most of them women, have been under threat of execution in four previous deadlines announced and subsequently extended by Ahmadi.

Deputy Interior Minister Munir Mangal, who also heads a government team negotiating with the captors, told Reuters earlier that the hostages were alive.

"The talks and dialogue are going on to persuade the Taliban to release the hostages … and no incident has happened [to the hostages]," Mangal said.

Ahmadi has said the militant group had provided a list of 23 insurgent prisoners it wants released by the Monday deadline in exchange for the Koreans.

"We might kill one, we might kill two, we might kill four, or we might kill all of the hostages at once," Ahmadi told the Associated Press from an unknown location via satellite phone on Sunday. "It might be women, it might be men."

The South Korean aid workers were abducted on July 19, taken from a bus in Ghazni province.

The hostages are being held in small groups at different locations. There are reports that some of the hostages are sick.
Canadian military monitors situation

Brig.-Gen. Tim Grant, the outgoing commander of the Canadian troops in Afghanistan, told CBC News that the Canadian military is monitoring the hostage situation, but is not directly involved in working towards the captives' release.

He said the kidnapping is evidence that the Taliban are struggling to make gains in Afghanistan.

"The Taliban are less and less able to operate freely," Grant said. "They are relying on more desperate tactics — roadside bombings, suicide attacks and, unfortunately, kidnappings."

On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials tried to shame the Taliban into releasing the female captives, an attempt to tap into a tradition of cultural hospitality and chivalry.

In his first comments since the hostages were abducted, Karzai criticized the Taliban's kidnapping of "foreign guests," especially women, as contrary to the tenets of Islam.

Karzai faced heavy criticism when he approved the release of five Taliban prisoners earlier this year to free an Italian journalist held hostage. He subsequently vowed not to repeat such a deal.

Bagelblogger: Ah... the Religion of Peace, the world Muslim condemnation of the Taliban's barbaric actions has been almost deafening - not.

Mistreatment of a Muslim at the Airport creates a storm of protests, but South Koreans Kidnapped and being tortured and killed doesn't even register in the Islamic world's concerns.

CBC: Body of 2nd Korean hostage found in central Afghanistan


shekharc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr X said...

Depite pleas for flexibility from the South Korean government, the U.S and Afghan governments have refused to consider an exchange because neither wants to encourage future kidnappings.

Speaking of encouraging the Taliban kidnappers and murderers, it was the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence service that encouraged the Taliban back in the early 1980s when arms were provided to any group resisting the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. In its effort to win the cold war, the U.S. fueled a gathering of radical Muslims from around the world to join the fight against the evil Soviet empire. Over 60,000 tons of US made weapons and ammunition were supplied yearly in that effort.

In addition to arms, the Taliban received training from the U.S. and Pakistan. Subsequently, the victorious Taliban went on to establish a savage regime that served as a terrorist haven complete with Islamic terrorist training camps including the Al-Qaeda terrorists behind 9-11.

Would the Soviet Union have collapsed without defeat in Afghanastan? What would the world be like if the Soviet Union had not fallen? Would 9-11 have occurred if the Taliban failed in Iraq? Without a terrorist haven and training camps in Afghanistan, would global terrorism be what it is today?