Taliban: Korea Paid $4M Ransom

Commander says Seoul paid millions to release hostages
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2008 9:40 AM CST
One of the released South Korean hostages, Kim Kyung-ja, right, who was freed on Aug. 13 in the midst of the crisis, is helped by a doctor and hospital security during a news conference at a hospital...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Taliban released 21 South Korean hostages five months ago only after Seoul paid at least $4 million in ransom, a senior insurgent commander now claims. Contrary to South Korea's official denial to Newsweek that money changed hands, the commander said freeing the missionaries without recompense "would not have been worth it." 

Seoul's denial is a new development; at the time of the hostages' release it refused to comment on whether the Taliban had been paid off. Newsweek also reports that the insurgents and the South Korean military had to divert the exchange to the Pakistani border city of Quetta, since Afghan and US intelligence were watching them too closely within the country.