Development News from Afghanistan

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Talks on S Korean hostages resume

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BBC News / Saturday, 28 July 2007
Negotiations have resumed in Afghanistan between tribal elders and Taleban leaders in an effort to release 22 South Korean hostages.
Their leader was killed on Wednesday by the Taleban and negotiations reportedly involve discussions over ransom money and possible prisoner exchanges.
The group were kidnapped nine days ago on a road between Kandahar and Kabul.
A BBC correspondent in Kabul says there is confusion about the progress of the talks and the health of the hostages.
Afghan officials have said they remain “hopeful” of securing the release of the hostages.
“We believe in the talks and if dialogue fails then we will resort to other means,” Munir Mangal, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister told Reuters news agency. When asked if that meant use of force, he replied: “Certainly.”
He also ruled out bowing to the Taleban demand to free captives held by Kabul.
Deadline passes
The Taleban have demanded the release of eight prisoners in return for the aid workers release.
They are also demanding that Seoul withdraw its 200 troops serving with US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a South Korean presidential envoy has arrived in Afghanistan and the Afghan government has sent higher level representatives, including an MP who used to be a member of the Taleban, to Ghazni province, where it is thought the hostages are being held.
The negotiations come after another deadline imposed by the Taleban over the hostages passed without incident.
The captives, mostly women, are aid workers for a Christian group.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pledged not to swap prisoners for hostages.
He was criticised for releasing five Taleban members from jail in March in exchange for an Italian reporter.
There has been an increase in kidnappings, roadside bombings and suicide attacks in recent months in Afghanistan.


Written by afghandevnews

July 28, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Security

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