Final Korean Hostages Walk Free

Christian aid workers out of Taliban hands after 6 weeks
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2007 1:34 PM CDT
Final Korean Hostages Walk Free
This combo picture shows the 19 South Koreans kidnapped in Afghanistan, and released Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. Taliban militants in Afghanistan agreed to release 19 South Korean church volunteers held captive since July 19, a spokesman for the insurgents and the South Korean government said Tuesday. (AP...   (Associated Press)

Taliban militants in Afghanistan freed the remaining seven South Korean hostages today, CNN reports, ending an episode that began July 19 with the abduction of 23 Christian aid workers. After two were executed, the remaining hostages were gradually released as the South Korean government negotiated with the captors, promising to halt missionary work in Afghanistan and proceed with troop withdrawal.

The Taliban had sought to trade the hostages for prisoners held by the Afghan government, but that demand was not met. A South Korean spokesman said his government did not pay the Taliban for the release of the hostages, but Reuters quoted Afghan sources saying money changed hands. The final hostages were handed over to the Red Cross in two small groups. (More Korean hostages stories.)

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