KABUL: Taliban in Afghanistan have released the last seven South Korean hostages, putting an end to the six-week drama. Four hostages including two men were first transferred from a local tribal elder to officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gelan district of Ghazni province. An ICRC convoy carrying the hostages then drove to another district in Ghazni province, and waited for the last three hostages.
A local tribal elder Haji Zahir, who has been working as a mediator, then walked to a remote village and took back the last three hostages including a man and two women.
Meanwhile, two Taliban members covering their faces walked back with Zahir and read a statement issued by the Taliban leadership. The statement admitted the kidnapping may hurt the feelings of the South Korean people. But it defended the abduction by saying the South Korean government has sent 200 troops to help the United States, who it said invaded Afghanistan nearly six years and killed many innocent women, children and old men here.
The hostages would be immediately transported to Ghazni city, the capital of Ghazni province. Also on Wednesday, the Taliban freed 12 hostages in three groups, and they later arrived in Ghazni city and met South Korean officials.-SANA