Update: Yonhap reports the rest of the remaining hostages have been released.
Taliban militants released four more South Korean hostages Thursday, according to an Associated Press reporter who saw them handed over to the Red Cross, and three others are also scheduled to be freed. The two men and two women were handed over to the officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, on a road in Janda area in central Afghanistan.
That’s in addition to the 12 released yesterday. This is not the end of the crisis, unfortunately. The South Korean government’s direct deal-cutting with the Taliban ensures that we will see more infidels kidnapped:
Under the terms of Tuesday’s deal, South Korea reaffirmed a pledge it made before the hostage crisis began to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Seoul also said it would prevent South Korean Christian missionaries from working in the staunchly Muslim country, something it had already promised to do.
The Taliban apparently backed down on earlier demands for a prisoner exchange. But the militant group, which killed two South Korean hostages last month, could emerge with enhanced political legitimacy for negotiating successfully with a foreign government.
“One has to say that this release under these conditions will make our difficulties in Afghanistan even bigger,” Commerce Minister Amin Farhang told Germany’s Bayerischer Rundfunk radio. “We fear that this decision could become a precedent. The Taliban will continue trying to take hostages to attain their aims in Afghanistan.”
A German engineer and four Afghan colleagues kidnapped a day before the South Koreans are still being held.
Eugene Cho, who has blogged the story vigilantly from the beginning, continues to track the latest developments.