Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper first reported that money changed hands to spring the 19 remaining South Korean evangelicals held by the Taliban. Now this follow-up:
“Taliban and Afghan officials have also denied that a ransom was involved.
But Alan Fisher, reporting for Al Jazeera from Kabul in Afghanistan, said that the ‘Taliban left the table substantially richer’ and that the ransom could have been as high as $20m.
‘We’ve gone back to several sources and again they have told us that as far as they are aware there was certainly a ransom paid and a figure that is being bandied around in Kabul is about $20m … All our sources tell us that money did change hands.’
He also reported that kidnappings by the Taliban were likely to continue.
‘In a vow to continue with the kidnappings they [the Taliban] said that “we will do the same thing with other allies in Afghanistan because we found this way to be successful”,’ he said.
Seoul had earlier restated its decision to withdraw its small military presence in Afghanistan - about 200 people comprised mainly of medical workers and engineers - by the end of the year.
It also agreed with the Taliban that it would ban missionary groups from going to Afghanistan, prompting criticism from the Korea World Missions Association.”
I wonder if South Korea is going to feel the slightest twinge of guilt as that $20 million is used on attacks against Afghan civilians, bombings against allied operations, more assassination attempts against the democratic government of Hamid Karzai, etc. Their $20 million ransom is going to turn into that many more kidnappings, deaths and suffering. Good going, Seoul.
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