It is a tense time for authorities in Afghanistan as they try to deal with a hostage crisis that has already claimed one life. The Taliban has killed a South Korean and is threatening to kill 22 other church volunteers still being held unless rebels are released from prison. South Korea has condemned the killing, saying it will never forgive what it calls an “inhuman act”. The South Korea volunteers were captured south of Kabul on Friday. A protest has been held in Seoul, calling for the immediate withdrawal of some 200 South Korean engineers in Afghanistan. The soldiers are due to return home at 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 a NATO-led force. It says this is needed to reduce the risk of civilian deaths in the country.