Seoul Seeks Direct Talks With Taliban

South Korean delegation heads to DC to seek help in hostage crisis
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2007 9:06 PM CDT
The body of Shim Sung-min, 29, one of the South Korean hostages, is loaded to the back of the police vehicle after he was killed by the Taliban militants in Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – South Korean delegates arrived in Afghanistan today to press for an end to the 2-week hostage crisis that has left two dead, Reuters reports. Seoul has asked for direct talks with the Taliban, which continues to hold 21 church workers, most of them women. But South Korea is powerless to meet kidnappers' demands that the Afghan government release rebel prisoners.

Today, Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon met with US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte at a security forum in the Philippines, and eight officials have been dispatched to Washington seeking further help. Seoul has pleaded with both Afghanistan and the US for "flexibility" on their policy not to make concessions to terrorists.