Nineteen relieved Christian aid workers returned home to South Korea yesterday after Taliban kidnapers released them from six weeks of captivity. They sank into the grateful arms of family and apologized to the public for "causing trouble." Korean officials had warned the church group not to travel to Afghanistan. The government denies paying ransom for the hostages' release.
But sources indicate that as much as $1 million was exchanged for their freedom. Two men in the group were killed by the kidnappers, and two others were freed earlier. "We owe the country and the people a great debt," said one of the hostages after issuing an apology on behalf of the group.