Fear overcome for sake of hostages

By July 26, 2007

Afghanistan (MNN) — Negotiations continue in the case of the 23 South Korean hostages held
by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Amid the turmoil, there are glimmers of hope among the local people.

Tuesday, locals in the Ghazni Province held a demonstration for the hostages' release, knowing they are Christians. This is a surprising act, considering the fear that surrounds the Taliban.  Many people don't dare oppose the Taliban out of fear for their families' safety.

The hostages were taken while on a short term mission trip. The kidnappers already threatened to begin executing the hostages by last Tuesday night if the South Korean government didn't free imprisoned insurgents and withdraw their 200 troops from Afghanistan. One news report said a Taliban spokesman reported Wednesday that they killed one of the hostages. However, such reports in other cases have proven untrue. A South Korean spokesperson said they are investigating the claims. 

The Afghanistan government promised last March that they would make no more hostage deals.

Another news report said that after a meeting with Korean negotiators and Afghan elders, the kidnappers are now demanding monetary payment for the release of the hostages, on top of their demand that the Korean army leave Afghanistan.

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