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August 13, 2007
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Headline News of August 13, 2007
The freed South Korean women in Afghanistan, 13/8/2007
The Taleban free two South Korean hostages abducted last month in Afghanistan, officials confirm.

The first of a series of corruption cases being brought against the former Prime Minister of Thailand is due to begin.
The head of a Chinese toy company involved in a safety recall has hanged himself, according to Chinese media.

BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of August 13, 2007 (With some misspelled words)  

It's been over three weeks since the captives were taken by the Taliban. Still their fate hangs in the balance. An Afghanistan official says he expect two of more than 20 hostages to be released today. Two have already been killed. 46C05711.JPGCharles Havilland is in Kabul for us.

>> Unfortunately this has reached the stage where it's very difficult and perhaps almost not too wise to speculate on anything. The Taliban's most frequent purported spokesman actually told the bbc late on Saturday the two women had been released. He then seemed the start saying all sorts of things to other media outlets. Yesterday he denied having said this, said simply there had been greejts to release -- agreement to release the women. On Saturday he used the word "unconditional." Those women still seem to be in captivity, so we don't know what's going on. You're right that some Afghanistan officials in Ghazni have now started expressing optimism about a development today, and that's a new thing.



>> Two South Korean aid workers have been released in Afghanistan. The south Korean government has welcomed their release, but urged the Taleban to release the other 19 they're still holding.

>> Free after a 25 day nightmare. It was these senior local he release, who drove them to a prearranged location, where they met up with officials of the international committee of the red cross. We are not the Taleban. We are the representatives of the tribe. 46C10769.JPG

>> The two women tearful. There they were expected to meet south Korean delegates who have been negotiating with two Taleban officials totath be reasonable good, although the Taleban said they had freed them because they were sick and as a goodwill gesture. Of the 23 Korean Christian workers kidnaedmo tho the Taleban have killed first their leader, a church pastor. And then another male hostage. His body was found at the end of July. the rebels have also released their own pictures of some of the other Koreans in captivity. Back in south Korea, their families and friends have waited with anguish the news of any developments. The South Korean government said the two women freed were now safe. They welcomed their release but urged the kidnappers to go further. 46C107A4.JPG

>> We urge the kidnappers to release our people and we will try to secure the safety and release of the remaining south Taleban say they want the comrades imprisoned by the afghan goverto Korean.

>> The Taleban say they want the comrades imprisoned by the afghan government to be set free. Korean officials have been meeting rebel repsentatives for four days now to try settle the issue.  

Taleban free two S Korea hostages
The freed South Korean women in Afghanistan, 13/8/2007
The women were said to be ill but were able to walk to freedom
The Taleban have freed two members of a group of South Korean hostages abducted in Afghanistan.

The pair, both women, were brought to a meeting point pre-arranged with the Taleban and handed to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

They were said to have been released partly because they were in poor health and partly as a goodwill gesture after talks with South Korean officials.

Two of the 23 South Koreans captured three weeks ago have been killed.

The location of Monday's release was close where the bodies of the two male hostages were found last month, says the BBC's Charles Haviland in Kabul.

South Korea's foreign ministry confirmed that the two women had been freed.

'Heavy heart'

The two women, who were wearing headscarves and were in tears, got into the ICRC car and were driven to the nearby town of Ghazni, our correspondent says.

The mother of one of the released Korean hostages
I have a very heavy heart rather than have a happy heart
Sun Yun-ja
Mother of a released hostage

There, they were expected to meet South Korean delegates who have been negotiating with two Taleban officials to secure the hostages' release.

An ICRC official told the BBC the Taleban had earlier contacted the organisation to request that it play a role in the handover. He said the ICRC would willingly repeat such a role if requested.

The women, who were photographed walking to the car, were said to be in "fair" health, our correspondent says.

The mother of one of the released hostages, Sun Yun-ja, said it was difficult to be happy about the releases.

"Two came back as bodies, two will return as being sick - I am really sorry for the family members of the remaining 19 hostages."

"I have a very heavy heart, rather than have a happy heart."

Christian captives

There had been confusion over the releases, with a Taleban spokesman telling reporters on Saturday that the two had already been freed, before saying the timing of the release had yet to be decided.

Map of Afghanistan

A new timing of 1130 GMT Monday, announced by the same spokesman, Yusuf Ahmadi, then passed with no news of any hostage releases.

The Taleban said the two women were released because they were sick and as a goodwill gesture.

They say they want Taleban imprisoned by the Afghan government to be set free if the other Koreans, most of whom are women, are to be released.

The South Koreans, all Christian aid workers, were seized on 19 July.

The original group of 23 - most of them women - was captured on the main road from Kabul to Kandahar.

It is thought the remaining South Korean hostages are being held in a number of small groups in a village about 10km (six miles) from Ghazni.

* Because production of these transcripts depend on a variety of factors, there are occasional spelling errors.

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