Afghanistan’s Taliban movement claims to have killed the two German hostages it was holding after two separate deadlines came and went calling for the withdrawal of German troops. The engineers were seized along with six Afghan colleagues on Wednesday from south of Kabul. They had been working for the UN. Some 23 South Korean workers including 15 women are also being held by the Taliban. They were seized on Thursday.
The country’s president Roh Moo-hyun called for the release of the hostages, saying: “South Korean personal in Afghanistan were working as non-combatants. They were working every day to help hundreds of Afghan civilians, trying to build bridges and facilities.” Before these latest kidnappings, South Korea’s government has said it had plans to terminate its troop mission in Afghanistan by the end of this year.
The Taliban has recently seized a number of foreigners including two French nationals last April. They were eventually released unharmed. The hostage-taking is part of the Taliban’s campaign to overthrow the Afghan government and drive out its Western allies.