Sources involved with negations to secure the release of South Korean hostages in Afghanistan say a $2 million ransom was paid.
A South Korean source denied claims by the Taliban that up to $20 million was paid in exchange for the 19 surviving Christian missionaries kidnapped July 19, The Korea Times reported Sunday.
"Being among the mediators, I can tell you that the ransom amount given to the Taliban is round about $2 million," he said.
However, the South Korean government denies that any ransom was paid. Seoul announced Taliban forces agreed to release the hostages in exchange for assurances that Korean troops will leave Afghanistan before the end of the year.
"We have to remind you that innocent people were kidnapped and two of them were killed," South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said. "We tried our best to keep international norm(s) and practices."
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi also denied any ransom was paid. He said the Taliban decided to release the hostages after South Korea agreed to withdraw its troops from the country.
Twelve of the hostages were released Wednesday by the Taliban, and the rest were set free in the following days.
Last Mod: 02 Eylül 2007, 17:44