Afghanistan to secure release of Korean hostages: Karzai | world | Hindustan Times
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Afghanistan to secure release of Korean hostages: Karzai

world Updated: Jul 30, 2007 10:11 IST

IANS
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has assured South Korea that his government will spare no efforts to secure the safe release of 22 hostages held by Taliban guerrillas.

Karzai late on Sunday held a closed-door meeting with Baek Jong-chun, the special envoy of South Korean president, an official statement said.

Karzai said holding hostages is against Islam and Afghanistan culture and is an act of "shame", the statement said.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to intensify the efforts for securing the release of the hostages, it added.

The South Korean envoy said his government respects any way the Afghan side has adopted to get the hostages free, added the statement. "We are aware of the difficulties the Afghan government and people are facing in the anti-terror war."

The statement did not mention if Afghan authorities were to release some Taliban prisoners, a major demand of captors of 22 South Koreans.

The special envoy arrived in Kabul on July 27 after one hostage was killed on July 25.

Abductors have stuck to the exchange of South Korean hostages for Taliban prisoners, but the Afghan government apparently is reluctant to release them.

Taliban insurgents kidnapped a total of 23 South Koreans on July 19 in the central Ghazni province.