South Korean hostages freed

Just in: all of the South Korean hostages have been freed:

Taliban militants on Thursday released the final seven South Korean captives they had been holding, bringing an end to a six-week hostage drama, witnesses said.

The captives were handed over to Reto Stocker, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, in two stages on a road in Ghazni province in central part of the country, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said.

Two men and two women were released first. Hours later, two women and one man who were covered in dust walked out of the desert, accompanied by three armed men, and also were turned over to waiting ICRC officials a few miles from the earlier site.

None of the freed South Koreans made any comments.

The Taliban originally kidnapped 23 South Koreans as they traveled by bus from Kabul to the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar on July 19. In late July, the militants killed two male hostages, and they released two women earlier this month as gesture of goodwill. Another 12 were freed Wednesday.

Under the terms of a deal reached Tuesday, 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 could emerge from the hostage-taking with enhanced political legitimacy for negotiating successfully with a foreign government.
This news is bittersweet at best. There’s cause for celebration, because these people were able to escape with their lives. However, the downside is a sobering one. The Taliban has now learned that it can do this over and over again. Will we be seeing them kidnap more and more innocent people to use as pawns to get what they want from foreign governments? It’s a strong possibility.

And slightly disturbing to me was this phrase that the AP chose to use:

The Taliban could emerge from the hostage-taking with enhanced political legitimacy for negotiating successfully with a foreign government.

Enhanced political legitimacy? Successful negotiations with foreign governments? Are they out of their minds?! How does kidnapping a group of innocent Christians, murdering a few of them, and only releasing them after demands are met give the Taliban political legitimacy? That should make them a political leper, but oh no, not to the AP. To them, this was a successful negotiation, one that lends them legitimacy and respect. Always the tone of admiration when it comes to dealing with the bloodthirsty cult in the Middle East that is Islam.

Thankfully, the lives of these people were spared. It’s just a sad and slightly scary thought to know what it is the Taliban has learned from this situation.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

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