Freed Korean hostages tell of ordeal in Afghanistan

The 21 surviving South Korean Christian volunteers who were held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly six weeks have recalled how they suffered at the hands of their captors. Speaking at a press conference in Anyang after leaving hospital, Yu Jung-hwa said how she and her fellow hostages felt terrified when her captors lined them up and threatened to kill them if they did not convert to Islam.

‚ÄúAll 23 of us leaned against a wall and armed Taliban aimed their guns at us, and a pit was before me…they said they will save us if we believe in Islam. I almost fainted at the time and I still cannot look at cameras.‚Äù

AFGHANISTAN: Final group of Korean hostages released

The final group of seven South Korean hostages were released yesterday by the Taliban into the custody of the International Red Cross. They were reported to be in good health.

Their release follows an agreement reached earlier this week between the Taliban and the South Korean government in which the South Korean government agreed to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and to ban Korean Christians from doing missionary work in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban release eight Korean hostages

Eight South Korean hostages have been released today by the Taliban following the announcement yesterday of an agreement between the South Korean government and the Taliban.

Three women hostages were released first – Han Ji-young (aged34), Lee Jung-ran (33), and An Hye-jin (31). The women, with their heads covered by traditional headscarves, were freed near the edge of the town of Ghazni. The three, said to be in good health, wept as they were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Thay have since met with South Korean government officials.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban agree to release all Korean hostages

The South Korean government announced earlier today that the Taliban have agreed to release the 19 Christian hostages that they have been holding captive for the past six weeks. Relatives of the hostages (pictured) expressed their joy and relief at the news. “I would like to dance,” said Cho Myung-ho, mother of 28-year-old hostage Lee Joo-yeon.

A spokesman for the South Korean President told reporters. ‚ÄúThe two sides reached agreement on the release of all 19 Korean hostages on condition that the Korean government withdraws its troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year and bans missionary work by Korean Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban release two women hostages

Yesterday, the Taliban released two of the 21 Korean Christians who have been held hostage for the past three weeks. The two women, Kim Ji Na (aged 32) and Kim Kyong Ja (aged 37) were released into the custody of a tribal elder who drove them to a pre-arranged location in Ghazni province where they were handed over to representatives of the International Red Crescent. The two women cried as they were handed over.

The women were taken to an American military base in Ghazni city where they were medically examined – both were said to be ill but no further details have been released.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban kill second Korean hostage

A second hostage has been killed by Taliban kidnappers in Afghanistan. Earlier today, Afghan police recovered the body of Shim Sung-min (pictured) from the roadside at Arzoo, some 80 km (50 miles) from where the group of 18 women and five men were seized from a bus twelve days ago.

Shim Sung-min (aged 29) was an IT worker who had gone to Afghanistan on a short-term aid trip with a group of young people from Sammul Presbyterian Church in Bundang, South Korea.

AFGHANISTAN: Ordeal continues for Korean hostages

The ordeal of twenty two South Korean Christians being held hostage in Afghanistan continued today as a seventh deadline, set by their Taliban kidnappers, passed this morning. It is now reported that a further deadline has been set for 12.30pm (Irish Time) on Wednesday.

The Taliban have said the hostages (eighteen women and four men) have been divided into small groups and are being held in three different provinces, in an attempt to thwart any rescue mission.

The kidnappers and Afghan negotiators have resumed talks with the kidnappers insisting that the release of Taliban prisoners is the only way to settle the crisis.

AFGHANISTAN: Abdul Rahman flies to Italy

Abdul Rahman, who had faced the death penalty for abandoning Islam, has left Afghanistan for Italy where he has been granted asylum, the Italian foreign ministry said today.

Abdul’s departure happened as Afghanistan’s parliament demanded that the government prevent him from leaving the country.

Italy has close ties with Afghanistan, whose former king, Mohammed Zaher Shah, was allowed to live with his family in exile in Rome for 30 years. The former royals returned to Kabul after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

AFGHANISTAN: Abdul Rahman released from prison

Abdul Rahman was released from Kabul’s main high security Pul-e-Charki prison late on Monday night after officials decided he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Abdul is currently with officials from the justice ministry, Afghanistan’s deputy attorney general Eshaq Aloko said.

U.N. spokesman in Kabul, Adrian Edwards, said that the U.N. was working with the Afghan government to help Abdul and he expected asylum would “be provided by one of the countries interested in a peaceful solution to this case.”

AFGHANISTAN: Abdul Rahman to be sent abroad?

Abdul Rahman, who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity, is to be sent to Alaiabad hospital in Kabul for ‚Äúpsychiatric evaluation‚Äù where he could be examined by American doctors. The news comes after weekend reports that the case had been dropped by the Afghan judge due to questions over Mr Rahman’s mental state.

“Until he is completely healthy we should send him to hospital for treatment and it is possible that the treatment could be done inside or outside Afghanistan,” Mr Sarinwal Zamari (a prosecution lawyer) said.