They have taken the life of one South Korean hostage. But today, as fears grew for the remaining 22 captives being held in Afghanistan, the Taliban said all were safe and alive. This is despite the expiration of what was described as “a final ultimatum”.
The bullet-riddled body of the murdered hostage was found south-west of Kabul, near where the Christian volunteers were seized last week. The dead man was a church pastor and the leader of the group.
The rebels want Kabul to release Taliban prisoners. They have also called on Seoul to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, a demand demonstrators in the South Korean capital have urged their government to comply with. The country’s forces are due home by the end of the year.
Meanwhile Italy’s foreign minister says he believes the US military operation in Afghanistan should come to an end, in favour of NATO’s mission there. Massimo D’Alema thinks the move is needed to reduce the risk of civilian deaths in the country.