Which will, of course, only encourage more hostage-taking. “Taliban was paid $2.46m for hostages,” from AAP (thanks to JE):
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.