Karzai chides Taliban for kidnapping Korean women
( Reuters ) - Afghan President Hamid Kazai said on Thursday the abduction of Korean women by Taliban guerrillas had no precedent in Afghan history and would bring shame on the nation.
The Taliban seized 23 Korean Christian volunteers, among them 18 women, from a bus in Ghazni province three weeks ago. The group has killed two male hostages and warned it would kill the remaining captives if Karzai did not free jailed Taliban.
Karzai, who came under harsh criticism for releasing Taliban prisoners for the freedom of an Italian journalist in March, has repeatedly said he would not resort to a prisoner swap again.
"Women from another country are being kidnapped in Afghanistan ... This would bring historical shame and defamation for this country and this nation," Karzai said.
"Women are being kidnapped in this soil today under the name of Taliban, Muslims and Afghans ... In Afghanistan's history, never anyone has kidnapped women," he added.
Karzai made the comments in Kabul during the opening of a grand meeting between Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan on finding ways to tackle the resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda allies.
The Taliban could not be reached immediately for comment.
The Islamic movement freed a female French aid worker it had kidnapped following several weeks of captivity in May.
The aid worker's French male colleague and three Afghans were freed later after the apparent payment of a ransom.
The Korean's abduction is the largest by the Taliban since the militants' radical Islamic government was overthrown in 2001.
The hostages are being kept in separate locations and the Afghan government says it would only use force if negotiations between the Taliban and a Korean team fail.