Seoul to Taliban: Our Hands Are Tied

Frustrated South Korean govt. lacks authority to satisfy kidnappers' demands
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 3, 2007 4:38 PM CDT
From left to right, Dr. Razia Sharifi, Dr Hashim Wahaaj, Habibullah Qadari, pray before leaving to Ghazni as they are trying to reach the South Korean hostages to treat them, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – South Korean officials on a desperate mission to Afghanistan are attempting to impress upon the Taliban that they cannot single-handedly meet the organization's demands. The delegation has been in contact with the kidnappers in an efforts to negotiate the release of 21 South Korean hostages, Reuters reports, but it can't guarantee the liberation of Taliban prisoners in Afghan custody.

The Taliban is prepared to negotiate further, but on the condition that if talks take place outside areas it controls, the UN issue security guarantees. Meanwhile, a South Korean delegation to Washington is calling for more direct American action, but the US isn't budging on its longstanding policy not to make concessions to terrorist groups.