Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deal With Taliban To Free Korean Hostages

Update 3 (September 1, 2007 @10:31pm): Choson Ilbo: Hostage Drama Ends With Release of Last 7 Koreans and CNN: Released South Korean hostages apologize for 'causing trouble'

Update 2 (August 29, 2007 @9:04pm) from CNN.com: Eight South Korean hostage freed

Update 1 (August 29, 2007 @ 7:20pm) from CNN.com: Taliban frees 3 South Korean hostages


This story is still developing and I read the headlines saying a deal had been made this afternoon. The Korean papers didn't give a lot of detail. However, this CNN blurb doesn't give a lot either.

Sohn Jie-ae is on CNN International reporting on it, so for those who still don't know, it looks like the remaining hostages will be freed soon. That's good news, so it's worth blogging.

Taliban to release Korean hostages

Story Highlights
  • Taliban agrees to release 19 South Korean hostages held in Afghanistan
  • Two male hostages killed, two female hostages released by the Taliban
  • Christian aid group was abducted in Ghazni province on July 19
SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korean negotiators in Afghanistan have reached a deal with Taliban militants holding 19 South Korean Christian aid workers for over a month, a presidential spokesman in Seoul said Tuesday.

Seoul welcomes the deal, but the spokesman cautioned that many details must still be worked out and the aid workers will not be released immediately.

Under the terms of the agreement, South Korea agreed to stick by its previous decision to withdraw its 200 non-combat troops from Afghanistan, which work mostly in an engineering and medical capacity.

In addition, Seoul will halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said there was no agreement to pay the captors, nor was there any mention of releasing Taliban prisoners -- a major demand of the kidnappers.

Twenty-three hostages, all church volunteers, were seized July 19 by the Taliban militant group while they were traveling on a bus in Afghanistan. Two were executed and two others were freed, leaving 19 still in captivity.

Here is another article from the Voice of America website:

Taleban Agrees to Release 19 South Korean Hostages

Taleban representatives say they have agreed to release 19 South Korean hostages held captive in Afghanistan for more than a month.

A South Korean presidential spokesman has confirmed that a deal for the release has been reached.

The announcement came Tuesday, after the Taleban and South Korean officials held a new round of talks on the fate of the hostages.

Face-to-face talks between South Korean officials and Taleban militants had broken down after the kidnappers released two female hostages earlier this month in what they called a gesture of goodwill.

The militants earlier executed two male hostages and had threatened to kill the rest if the Afghan government did not release Taleban prisoners.

Kabul rejected a prisoner swap.

Taleban militants abducted the 23 South Koreans as they traveled by bus to southern Afghanistan to do charity work on behalf of their Christian church.

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  1. This just in. 20 million US dollars was given from South Korea to the Taliban to get the release of hostages. All South Korean army personal in Afghanistan are also to be withdrawn.

    Not only will the funds be used to buy weapons to kill Nato troops in Afghanistan. Perception of South Korea as a reliable non nato ally is further degraded in the eyes of the US. In response, be prepared to see in the future deep US cuts in Korea, and the hoarding of sensitive equipment for the ROK.

    Scanning moderate to conservative blogs reveals a very intense disappointment at how the situation occurred and how the South Korean population and government reacted. Especially the cheap anti Americanism.

  2. Actually, that's not a "just in" piece of info. It's speculation that has been stirring since the release of the hostages because the Taliban didn't get their demands, so there had to be something else.

    The deduction was it was money. As of bedtime last night, Korea was denying that. But I figured it would come to light in a few days and THEN I'd opine on it because otherwise it's jumping the gun. But that's what pundits and shit stirrers like to do, so thanks for some shit stirring.

    Also thanks, anonymous, for saying what the analysts have been saying for a couple of days and trying to pass it off as fact.

    And I back up all of my info with links, you should pick up that habit.

    From what I've read so far (and I just got up, it's Sunday morning here), the figure isn't $20 million but more like $950,000 to $500,000.

    Again, this situation, while finally reaching an end, isn't over yet. I'll have much to say once more facts are out.

  3. In your links the Taliban commander specifically said 20 million dollars. This is why people picked it up, because it came straight from the enemies mouth. Nuance reading into the article has key words such as. "the sum was LIKELY" 500,000 or 900,000. In the US media like NBCNEWS, it has been reported 20 mil In worse case scenario, 20 million dollars in the third world can buy a lot. In a country where the GDP per household is less than 1000 dollars.

    I don't need ivory tower types to tell me that I am being stringed along by "analyst", or accusing me of ignorance because I didn't specifically check BBC on September 1 or 2. Sorry to for being a such a uneducated and quick to trigger redneck,...roll eyes. I will remember to religiously read the BBC from now own...roll eyes. I am an anonymous commenter for god sakes, chill out. I only came to your site through a google search about blog reactions to the Korean hostages, I am not out to specifically get you. You don't need to dip down into your bag for preconceived notions about anybody who has conflicting views. It is incredibly arrogant and displays hubris on your part to write that down.

    In the meanwhile NATO troops fighting will have to deal with any money leveled into Afghanistan. Korean officials and Koreans on the streets blame on the US for the whole fiasco, even you can't deny this, it does not help with American perceptions. The conservative notion is that ROK is ungrateful and disloyal is spilling over to moderates who see incidents like this. Liberals who are against the notion on spending money maintaining an expensive military apparatus in a foreign land are also given in to kneejerk disappointments at the Koreans.

    This is appeasement in every sense of the definition. The Christian missionary are dhimmified b/c they aren't allowed a presence anymore in Afghanistan. Denying the missionary aspect of your church, if that isn't surrender I don't know what is. Money given to the Taliban b/c of allegation from the BBC of women hostages being sexually assaulted. Again capitulation. ROK troops withdrawn. Again capitulation. All for what? THE south Koreans shouldn't have been kidnapped by the Taliban in the first place.

    You don't award kidnappers because he leaves the other countries in Afghanistan vulnerable. Think about the other Nato personal there like Germany, Dutch, Spain, France, and Canada. But again Korean only look out for themselves so it is not surprising. An distasteful accusation? The Korean response to the hostage crisis leave me no other conclusion. I hope this gets you riled up. It is immature to write a fucken essay on a blog that probably nobody reads with veiled character accusations to get back at you like someone on this site, but all your comments or commentators sucks ass so I felt like doing it. It was well worth the investment.

  4. Clearly, the Taliban got paid something no matter how much the Korean government denies it because the Taliban didn't get anything else from releasing these hostages.

    Do I think the Korean government should have negotiated with the Taliban? I don't think I've said anything to indicate that. So, ironically, you're preaching to the choir.

    What's funny is that the tone from your first comment seems to assume that I agree that negotiating was okay. Pointing out what "moderate to conservative" blogs are saying on this reads to me like you think my silence on it indicates approval. It's not.

    In terms of presumptuousness this is a case of the the pot calling the kettle black. You came on here not merely commenting on the actions of the Korean government, which is fine, but seemingly attacking me by pointing out what other blogs are saying (like I don't know this already).

    I've been wanting my country's military to leave this place pretty much since the surge of anti-Americanism in 2002 because I'm sick of this society taking our defense of its soil for granted AND refusing to give credit where credit is due. It's great to see them packing it up at Yongsan base.

    There is no way this society could have had such huge economic development and success without first being secure. The resources it would have otherwise had to spend on securing its border could be put into building up its economy. The US Army, funded by the US taxpayer, provided the security needed so they could focus on their economy. Only among the educated elite, and sometimes not even then, do I find Koreans who acknowledge that without being pressed on the issue.

    So here is a brief summary of my opinion: 1) the hostages shouldn't have gone there in the first place as the Korean government warned its citizens (what makes it worse is they were photographed in front of a sign warning them off of travel to a war zone) and 2) should the Korean government negotiated, much less, paid for the hostages? No way because, yes, this violates an international norm and puts many more people in jeopardy.

    Anti-Americanism in Korea isn't new and I've torn into Korean society for such knee jerk stupidity. So, clearly, you haven't clicked around as much as you claim.

    I'm glad you found my blog, be glad that I'm not so easily offended by YOUR presumptuousness. I'm glad you felt your "investment" was worth it.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.