South Korea’s chief security advisor is heading to Afghanistan to boost efforts to secure the release of a group of kidnapped Christian volunteers. The fate of the 22 hostages remains in the balance after the Taliban threatened to kill them last night if the government failed to free imprisoned rebels.
The Taliban has already executed one hostage, identified as church pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, the group’s leader. South Korea’s envoy says the government is keen to resume negotiations and it has been assured by the Taliban that the hostages are “safe and well”.” Speaking before leaving for Kabul, Baek Jong-chun said the kidnappers would be held responsible for taking the life of a Korean citizen. His expected arrival on Friday could mean the Taliban may wait to see what offer, if any, he brings.
The South Koreans were abducted a week ago in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul. The kidnappings have made travel outside major cities even more risky for thousands of foreign aid workers, forcing authorities to make urgent security improvements.