Taliban execute one Korean hostage; reports of release denied

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Afghanistan police have recovered the bullet-ridden body of a South Korean evangelical priest, who was among 23 aid-workers held hostage by the Taliban. Earlier reports that at least 8 other hostages were released are now being denied.

"I can confirm that one of the hostages has been killed by the Taliban," said head of the Afghan delegation in charge of the hostage negotiations, Waheedullah Mujadadi who also added that he could not confirm the release of the other 8 hostages.

"Since Kabul's administration did not listen to our demand and did not free our prisoners, the Taliban shot dead a male Korean hostage," Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters via telephone. "If the administration of Kabul is not ready to release our hostages, then by 1.00 a.m. the rest of the hostages will be killed," he continued. "That time is the last deadline." Yousuf said the hostage was killed in Qarabagh district of Ghazni Province. Reports claim he was shot ten times.

Associated Press cited two Western officials when reporting that some of the 23 hostages had been released. One of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said six women and two men had been taken to the main United States base in Ghazni.

"Talks continue but no one has been freed so far,” said Ghazni governor Mirajuddin Pattan. Taliban spokesperson Yousuf said the claim of a release was "government propaganda."