The Taliban extortion scam nets $A2.46 million from South Korea?

The Australian:

SOUTH Korea paid $A2.46 million to Taliban extremists in Afghanistan to secure the release of 19 hostages.

Citing unidentified sources in Afghanistan, a Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun said Afghan mediators persuaded South Korea's ambassador in Kabul that there was no other way to end the six-week kidnap ordeal.

"Two million dollars were paid to release all 19 people," an Afghan mediator was quoted as telling the influential Japanese daily.

The Asahi Shimbun said both a South Korean official and a Taliban spokesman contacted by the newspaper denied any payment.

The Taliban, who earlier killed two of the hostages, freed the 19 Christian aid workers this week after South Korea promised to withdraw its military from Afghanistan as planned and ban missionary groups from the Islamic country.

South Korean officials have not commented on whether a payment was made to any party to help secure the release.

Asked about the Asahi report, a presidential spokesman said today that there had been no discussions with the Taliban apart from those on the troop withdrawal and the missionary issue.
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There is nothing like funding your enemy's operations. The whole episode strikes of naiveté on the part of the South Korean Christian community and the South Korean government. They are almost as bad as Italian journalist. At least all the survivors of the kidnapping have been released. I wonder if they were becoming an embarrassment for the Taliban.

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