Reuters, July 30, 2007
Taliban say kill another Korean hostage after demands are ignored
The Taliban seized 23 Korean Christians, 18 of them women, 11 days ago from a bus in Ghazni on the main highway south from Kabul
KABUL - Taliban kidnappers shot dead a male South Korean hostage on Monday, a spokesman for the group said, accusing the Afghan government of not listening to rebel demands for the release of Taliban prisoners.
"We killed one of the male hostages at 6.30 this evening (1400 GMT) because the Kabul administration did not listen to our repeated demands," spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters by telephone from an unknown location.
RAWA expresses it sadness and condolence to the people of Korea for the crime committed by brutal Taliban against innocent Korean hostages. We stand by the people of Korea and are ashamed that a bunch of medieval-minded killers and looter harm these friends in our soil.
The people of Korea should know that these terrorists have taken hostage the whole Afghan nation since decades and impose their acts of terror on our innocent people. It is very painful for us to witness today that they are torturing and killing our Korean sisters and brothers who were on a mission to help people of Afghanistan.
Taliban never represent Afghan nation, and all of our ordinary people share your sorrow and are very distressed and sad for the brutalities of the Taliban against their true friends and supporters.
From RAWA's message to people of Korea, July 25, 2007
The Taliban seized 23 Korean Christians, 18 of them women, 11 days ago from a bus in Ghazni on the main highway south from Kabul and killed the leader of the group on Wednesday after an earlier deadline passed.
The spokesman said the Taliban would kill more hostages if Kabul ignored their demand to release rebel prisoners but set no new deadline. He said the body of the Korean shot on Monday had been dumped on a roadside.
The shooting was a bloody rejection of the authorities' request for more time for talks on freeing the hostages after the expiry of a rebel deadline earlier in the day.
Al Jazeera television broadcast a video showing at least seven of the female hostages, wearing head scarves and apparently unharmed. Four were sitting on the ground, the rest standing beside men in Afghan robes, apparently militants.
The face of one Asian man also wearing traditional Afghan robes was shown, but it was not clear if he was a hostage or an insurgent.
Al Jazeera said it had obtained the footage "from a source outside Afghanistan."
The television said an off-camera speaker was reading a statement but it did not report what he said. The hostages were not speaking in the video.
The hostage crisis has focused attention on growing lawlessness in Afghanistan with Taliban influence, suicide bombs and attacks spreading to many areas previously considered safe and making road travel between major cities a risky affair.
South Korean Christians posing for a group photograph before leaving for Afghanistan on July 13.
A spokesman for the governor of Ghazni province, southwest of the capital Kabul, where the hostages were seized, said earlier that Afghan authorities had asked for two more days in which to settle the hostage crisis peacefully.
The Taliban had earlier insisted the release of Taliban prisoners was the only way to settle the crisis.
On Sunday, the Taliban ruled out further talks after they said government negotiators demanded the unconditional release of the hostages and a senior Afghan official said that force might be used to rescue them if talks failed.
DEMANDS LED TO DEADLOCK
The government had wanted the Taliban to first release the 18 women hostages, but the insurgents demanded the government release its prisoners first, leading to deadlock, said a Kabul-based Western security analyst who declined to be named.
President Hamid Karzai has remained silent throughout the hostage ordeal, except for condemning the abduction, the largest by the Taliban since U.S.-led forces overthrew the movement's radical Islamic government in 2001.
He was harshly criticized for freeing a group of Taliban in March in exchange for the release of an Italian journalist.
The body of the South Korean Christian pastor shot dead by the Taliban last week arrived in South Korea on Monday.
Body of the second Korean hostage was found by Afghan police.
The bullet-riddled body of Bae Hyung-kyu was found last Wednesday, the day he would have turned 42. His brother, Bae Shin-kyu, told reporters the family would not hold a funeral until the other hostages returned to South Korea.
In Seoul, family members of the hostages gathered at Saemmul Church on hearing news that a second male hostage had been shot, said a pastor at the church, which sent the volunteers to Afghanistan.
Broadcaster KBS said the foreign ministry and the presidential Blue House were trying to verify the report.
A South Korean shipment of emergency medical supplies and daily necessities has been delivered to the Taliban, but Seoul does not know if the goods have reached the Koreans, Yonhap news agency quoted a presidential spokesman as saying earlier.
The Koreans were abducted a day after two German aid workers and their five Afghan colleagues were seized by Taliban in neighboring Wardak province. The body of one of the Germans has been found with gunshot wounds.
(Additional reporting by Lee Jin-joo in Seoul, Inal Ersan in Dubai)
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