Koreans plead for hostages' release

Freed South Korean women recount their ordeal in exclusive interview with Al Jazeera.

    Kim Jee-na, left, and Kim Kyung-ja said they were
    not treated badly by the Taliban
    In video


    Al Jazeera's exclusive report

    Lee Jee-young, one of the hostages and who had also been working as a translator for the group, gave up her place as one of the hostages to be freed.
     
    "We were very worried when we heard that Jee-yong volunteered to be left behind," said Kim Jee-na.
     
    "But the Taliban allowed Jee-yong to write a letter to her family which consoled her and gave her some hope that she would come home soon."
     
    Painful decision
     
    The freed women said they had not been treated badly by the Taliban while in captivity and "were given basic things such as food, medication and some blankets".
     

    Kim Jee-na asked the Taliban to release the
    remaining hostages "as soon as possible"

    But they also said it was painfully difficult to leave their friends in captivity.
     
    "Rather than being happy, my heart was breaking," Kim Kyung-ja said, holding back tears.
     
    "I was thinking of the remaining 19 hostages."
     
    The women were part of a group of 23 South Korean aid workers who were taken hostage by Taliban fighters in July as their tour bus travelled along the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Afghanistan's Ghazni province.
     
    The group, all members of a Christian church in Seoul, had travelled to Afghanistan to provide aid work.
     

    Kim Kyung-ja said that her "heart was
    breaking" for the other hostages

    "We were looking after the patients and children playing soccer games at the hospital located in Mazari Sharif," the women said.
     
    "We were planning to continue our work at the hospital and kindergarten after moving to Kandahar."
     
    In exchange for the hostages, the Taliban demanded the withdrawal of South Korean troops from the country and the release of prisoners held by the Afghan authorities.
     
    But negotiations reached a deadlock on several occasions and a number of deadlines set by the Taliban passed without those demands being met.
     
    Hostages killed
     

    Your Views

    "Innocent aid workers were abducted and murdered by a band of political criminals"

    Adolfo Talpalar, Stockholm, Sweden

     

    Send us your views

    The Taliban has already killed two of the hostages.
     
    Bae Hyung-kyu, the group's leader, was killed and his bullet-riddled body was left close to the road where the group was kidnapped.
     
    Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a Taliban spokesman, said at the time that Bae had been killed "because the government did not listen to our demands".
     
    Later, after another deadline passed, the Taliban killed Shim Seong-min, another male hostage.
     
    The Taliban continues to demand that the Afghan authorities release prisoners in exchange for the remaining hostages, demands that the Afghan authorities have refused.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.