Taliban 'Use Korean Hostage Cash to U.S., U.K.'

    October 15, 2007 07:00

    The South Korean government paid the Taliban US$10 million for the release of hostages, and the Taliban used the money to buy weapons with which they launched massive offensives on the U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan over the past month, the Sunday Telegraph reported Sunday.

    The newspaper based the story on interviews with three Taliban, secret envoys of Mullah Mansoor, the Taliban supreme commander in southern Afghanistan, at a safe house in the town of Kila Abdullah near the Afghan-Pakistani border.

    One Taliban fighter, Mullah Hezbollah (30), was quoted as saying, "The South Korean government handed us $7 million on the day we released 12 hostages and an additional $3 million right after we released the rest on Aug. 31” ? in fact Aug. 30 actually. “It was a God-sent opportunity. It has helped us to multiply our stockpile of weapons and explosives to wage battle for at least a year or so."

    According to the Taliban, the money the South Korean government handed made it possible for them to launch Operation Nusrat (victory), a massive offensive against coalition forces including the U.S. and British troops. "We were really concerned when we received orders to launch Operation Nusrat, because we had hardly any funds to buy weapons to carry out such a major offence," Mullah Hezbollah said. Thanks to the ransom payments, however, the operation proceeded with “full vigour.”

    They said the ransom is also used to train 3,000 volunteers to carry out suicide bombing attacks in the U.S., the U.K. and Afghanistan. But the paper quoted the South Korean Embassy in the UK as denying the ransom story as “a lie fabricated by the Taliban."

    Meanwhile, Berlin is apparently softening in its intransigent refusal to negotiate with the Taliban and has recently pressured the Afghan government to release five Taliban prisoners and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to win release of German hostages, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday. Both German and Afghan governments refused to confirm the report.

    • Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com
    Previous Next
    All Headlines Back to Top