Update 9:45pm Eastern. Al Jazeera has aired video of seven of female South Korean Christian hostages. Here’s a still:
Update 2:45pm Eastern. Yonhap reports, “The Taliban, claiming Monday to have executed another male South Korean hostage, threatened it will continue to kill more of them and more frequently. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the militant group, told Yonhap in indirect contact that the Taliban will start to kill female hostages after the men, should negotiations fail.”
Here is a photo of Shim Sung-min, the second hostage reportedly killed:
Update: 1:54pm Eastern. The United Nations “expresses concern.” Oh, the Taliban is trembling now.
Update 1:30pm Eastern: Via Jawa Report, a second male hostage has reportedly been murdered. Rusty asks: “Where is the outrage?!?!!!!”
The victim’s name, the Taliban claims, is Sung Sin. The bloodthirsty jihadists say they shot him with an AK-47.
Yonhap reports that the Korean government is trying to confirm the murder. More details:
South Korean officials said they were trying to confirm reports that the Taliban has executed another male hostage. The South Korean embassy in Afghanistan declined to comment.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the militant group, told AFP and Reuters that a man named “Sung Sin” was killed at 8:30 p.m. (local time) with AK-47 gunshots because the Afghan government did not heed the deadline set for exchanging the hostages with Taliban prisoners. He said the body was abandoned at Qarabagh in the Ghazni province.
The given name of the victim is most similar to Shim Sung-min, 29, who is among the kidnapped. If confirmed true, it will be the second killing of the hostages. Bae Hyung-kyu, a pastor, was killed last Wednesday, his bullet-riddled corpse later recovered.
Sifting through Korean media outlets for more info, I came across this moving story at donga.com about the hostages’ families:
Lee Chae-bok, mother of Je Chang-hee, one of South Koreans held hostage by a Taliban group since July 20, wrote a letter to her only son yesterday at the office of hostage’s family members, located in Bungdang-gu, Seong-nam, Gyeonggi, saying, “We don’t know how such a terrible thing happened to us. You haven’t done anything that harms others. Your smiling face comes to mind so often, and it is really breaking my heart.”
The letter starting with “Lovely Chang-hee,” is filled with the mother’s strong love to her youngest child and only son, who received the strongest love from family members.
Lee also wrote that, “You went there to share love that you get from here, and I hope you endure the difficulties there by remembering the love of family here.”
Lee ended the letter with words, “My lovely son! I really want to see your smiling face. I will pray for your safe return.”
Yet another deadline extended–and now expired. Mullah Omar is now involved:
The Taliban extended its deadline to 1130 GMT (7:30 a.m. EDT) for 22 South Korean hostages they are threatening to kill after an appeal by Afghan negotiators, a Taliban spokesman said, adding all of the remaining captives were alive.
“Because of the team’s requests … the Taliban have extended the deadline to 16:00 local time,” Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.
The Taliban had earlier set a 0730 GMT “final deadline,” after which they said they would kill the 22 Koreans — mostly women — unless the Afghan government freed jailed rebels.
Monday’s first deadline was issued by the Taliban leadership council, led by elusive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar, giving the threat to kill the hostages more weight than several other deadlines that have passed without incident.
Yonhap reports that negotiations have failed and the hostages will be killed.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Hamid Karzai tried to appeal to the Taliban head-choppers by pleading that kidnapping and killing innocent civilian women is “un-Islamic:”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the kidnapping of 23 South Koreans by Taliban militants “shameful” on Sunday, noting that abducting women in particular was un-Islamic. A purported Taliban spokesman set a new deadline for the hostages’ lives.
In his first comments since the July 19 kidnapping, Karzai also assured a South Korean presidential envoy that the government will “spare no effort” to secure the hostages’ release.
“This (kidnapping) will have a shameful effect on the dignity of the Afghan people,” Karzai said, according to a statement after his talks with South Korean presidential envoy Baek Jong-chun.
“(The president) explained that hostage-taking and abuse of foreign guests, especially women, is against Islam and the Afghan culture and the perpetration of this heinous act on our soil is in total contempt of our Islamic and Afghan values,” Karzai’s office said.
Like that has ever stopped the jihadists before.