Authorities recovered the bullet-riddled body of a South Korean
hostage in central Afghanistan yesterday.
A police officer who discovered the body said the man had 10
bullet holes in his head, chest and stomach, and was found in the
Mushaki area of Qarabagh district in Ghazni province.
A South Korean woman at a candle
light vigil in Seoul yesterday demanding the withdrawal of South
Korean troops from Afghanistan and the safe return of kidnapped
A Taliban spokesman said earlier that the militants had killed
one of the hostages because Afghan authorities hadn't met their
demands to release Taliban militants from prison.
The Taliban spokesman said they will kill the rest if their
demands are not met by 4:30 AM Beijing time today.
A local government official also confirmed the death.
"Yes, they have killed one of the hostages but efforts are
underway to have the others released," district chief of Qarabagh,
Khowja Seddiqi, told Reuters.
The Taliban had complained that the Afghan government had failed
to release any Taliban prisoners as the kidnappers had demanded and
as, according to the rebel spokesman, Korean negotiators had
assured them Kabul would do.
"Since Kabul's administration did not listen to our demand and
did not free our prisoners, the Taliban shot dead a male Korean
hostage," the spokesman said.
"If the administration of Kabul is not ready to release our
hostages, then by 1 am (local time) the rest of the hostages will
be killed," he said. "That time is the last deadline."
He rejected Korean media reports that said the Taliban planned
to free eight of the captives.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his ministers have remained
silent throughout the latest hostage ordeal.
Family members of the Korean hostages gathered at the offices of
a non-governmental agency in Seoul to watch developments on
Relatives did not speak to reporters, but sounds of crying were
heard when news broke that one of the hostages had been killed.
Around 1,000 people gathered in suburban Seoul around Saemmul
church, which sent the volunteers to Afghanistan, to pray for their
safe return, broadcaster YTN reported.
Many cried after news of the death was released with a few
screaming: "No! No!"
In his statements yesterday, the Taliban spokesman did not
mention the Taliban demand that South Korea pull its 200 troops out
of Afghanistan, suggesting the rebel's emphasis had shifted to
demand for their prisoners to be released.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a German journalist and his Afghan
translator kidnapped in the east of the country overnight were
(China Daily July 26, 2007)