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August 28, 2007
Taliban to Release South Korean Hostages?
The Associated Press is reporting that the Taliban have agreed to release all 19 South Koreans they have held hostage since July 19:
Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said South Korean and Taliban delegates at face-to-face talks Tuesday in the central town of Ghazni had "reached an agreement" to release the captives. First, it should be pointed out that the Taliban and other jihadists are notorious for yanking the rug from underneath such agreements at the last moment, usually citing "bad faith" or some other excuse just to play with the emotions of the families and western news readers. In other words, I'll beleive it when I see it.
In Seoul, South Korean presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-sun confirmed a deal was reached.
"We welcome the agreement to release 19 South Koreans," said Cheon Ho-sun.
No other details on the agreement were immediately available.
Beyond that, it is a legitimate question to ask just what the South Korean government gave up in return for their release. All too often in the past - the Italians and Germans come to mind - we have seen ransom paid for hostages that only seems to encourage the taking of more captives. Let's hope that whatever price the South Koreans paid for the safe return of their citizens that it doesn't encourage further hostage taking by Taliban thugs.
And lest anyone forget, the Taliban murdered 2 male hostages in cold blood prior to sitting down in direct negotiations with the South Koreans. The AP has already forgotten since they didn't include that little fact flake in the story on the captive's release.
But we forget that kind of thing at our own peril.