Taliban seek troop pullout for release of abducted Germans
20 July 2007, Kabul/Seoul (dpa) - A Taliban spokesman threatened on Friday to kill two abducted German engineers that insurgents kidnapped on Wednesday unless Germany pulls out all its troops and all Taliban prisoners are released in Afghanistan. The Taliban's purported spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi, said that Taliban insurgents kidnapped two German nationals along with their five Afghan colleagues in Ghazni province and were keeping them in a safe place. "The Taliban leadership council demands al
20 July 2007
Kabul/Seoul (dpa) - A Taliban spokesman threatened on Friday to kill two abducted German engineers that insurgents kidnapped on Wednesday unless Germany pulls out all its troops and all Taliban prisoners are released in Afghanistan.
The Taliban's purported spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi, said that Taliban insurgents kidnapped two German nationals along with their five Afghan colleagues in Ghazni province and were keeping them in a safe place.
"The Taliban leadership council demands all the German troops to be pulled out of the country and besides all Taliban prisoners in Afghan government jails should be released," Ahmadi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"If the demands are not met, we will killed the Germans," Ahmad warned.
He said that so far there was no response from the Afghan or German governments.
Another Taliban spokesman, Zabeeullah Mujahid, earlier had said that the Taliban was not involved in the abduction of the German workers.
Two German nationals along with their five Afghan colleagues were kidnapped by Taliban fighters in Jaghato as they were on their way to oversee a construction project in Maidan Wardak province.
Taliban insurgents also arrested three Afghan policemen who were providing security for the team but released them after taking their guns.
A German held for a week in western Afghanistan was freed by his abductors on July 5. It was not made known whether a ransom was paid. In October 2006, two German journalists were shot dead in northern Afghanistan, where some 3,000 German troops are deployed as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force.
Meanwhile Ahmadi said that their forces also kidnapped 18 South Koreans, including 15 women and three men, in southern Ghazni province on Thursday.
Earlier a Taliban website said that 22 Koreans were arrested by Taliban fighters, but Ahmadi said that only 18 of them were South Koreans and the rest were Afghans.
The militants stopped a bus in Leyuni Bazaar, in Qara Bagh district of Ghazni province, on Thursday and abducted a group of South Korean church volunteers, Mohammad Zaman, deputy police chief, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Ahmadi said that the arrested South Koreans had been taken to a safe place by their fighters and were under interrogation.
"Taliban leadership council has not made any decision regarding the fate of the Koreans. Once the investigation and interrogation is over, we will announce our decision," Ahmadi said.
South Korean Foreign Ministry officials said they had received an intelligence report saying 20 South Koreans were abducted and they were members of Saemmul Church in Seongnam, on the outskirts of Seoul, according to Yonhap news agency.
The ministry identified the victims as Christian minister Bae Hyeong Gyu, 44, seven men and 13 women in their late 20s and early 30s who were doing Christian volunteer work in Kandahar. South Korea was reported to be considering sending an ambassador-led taskforce to Afghanistan Friday night to handle the case.
Zaman said the victims did not have any security escort, nor did they inform police officials regarding their trip on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, where Taliban fighters often attack Afghan and international security convoys.
The police chief said that hundreds of soldiers are searching village by village to track down the kidnapped Koreans.
The South Korean volunteers left for Afghanistan on July 13 to take care of patients.
"We were shocked to hear the news," said a church elder who attended an emergency meeting in Seoul. "We are trying to figure out what has happened," he added.
The church was packed Friday with its members and sobbing relatives of the hostages.
There are at least 210 South Korean soldiers posted in Afghanistan, as well as about 200 South Koreans working at non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or for other purposes.
Subject: German news