It’s Day 35 of the South Korean Christian hostage crisis that the world has forgotten (if it ever paid attention at all). The Taliban renewed its threats to kill the remaining 19 hostages: “If the demands of the Taliban are not met, the Korean hostages face death,” said purported rebel spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed to Agence France-Presse by telephone from an unknown location. “Although we want this crisis to be solved through negotiations, it seems the U.S. authorities are creating problems,” he added. More:
Mujahed also reported that most of the captives were sick from weather conditions and from lack of “proper food.”
“Their health condition is not good,” the spokesman said. “The weather conditions and a lack of proper food have made conditions for them very hard. Most of them are sick.”
Talks between Taliban negotiators and a South Korean delegation had initially appeared to be making headway when two female hostages were released last Monday. However, the negotiations have since become deadlocked with the rebels continuing to demand the release of its jailed fighters in exchange for the Koreans.
According to Chosun Ilbo, the Afghan government has formed a “special committee” to “find a diplomatic solution” to the Taliban-engineered crisis “by cooperating with countries like Pakistan that have influence on the Taliban.” Reuters reports that the Afghan government would use force to free the hostages if talks between the Korean delegation and the Taliban fail. Contrary report here.
Blogger Eugene Cho continues his vigil for the hostages and writes:
I recently received an email today from a fellow minister in the United States who “confessed” that he had no idea that this was going on until he stumbled onto this blog. Let’s do our part to both pray and help bring light to this situation.
Via Eugene, here’s a video timeline of the crisis to date:
And a reminder again of the bright, smiling faces hidden by the tall shadows of global apathy and capitulation:
Related: AP reports that a “German hostage who has been held by the Taliban for more than a month appeared on Afghan television today, coughing and holding his chest while appealing for help. Taliban militants, meanwhile, ambushed a convoy of supplies for NATO-led troops in southern Afghanistan, killing 10 Afghan guards, an official with the convoy said.”