Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Taliban has kidnapped 18 South Korean Christians

Please join me in praying for these Christians. Pray that they will be released unharmed and that they can share Christ with their captors:

Taliban militants threatened Friday to kill at least 18 kidnapped South Korean Christians, including 15 women, within 24 hours unless the Asian nation withdraws its 200 troops from Afghanistan.

In the largest abduction of foreigners since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, several dozen fighters kidnapped the South Koreans at gunpoint from a bus in Ghazni province on Thursday, said Ali Shah Ahmadzai, the provincial police chief.

"They have got until tomorrow (Saturday) at noon to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, or otherwise we will kill the 18 Koreans," Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, told The Associated Press on a satellite telephone from an undisclosed location. "Right now they are safe and sound."

Outmatched by foreign troops, the Taliban often resort to kidnapping civilians caught traveling on treacherous roads, particularly in the country's south, where the insurgency is raging. The tactic hurts President Hamid Karzai's government by discouraging foreigners involved in reconstruction projects from venturing into remote areas where their help is most needed.

The abductions came a day after two Germans and five of Afghan colleagues working on a dam project were kidnapped in central Wardak province.

Ahmadi said the Taliban were also holding the two Germans, and threatened to kill them if Germany did not withdraw its 3,000 troops from a NATO-led force by noon Saturday — the same deadline as he gave South Korea.


An official at the Presbyterian church confirmed 20 of its members were in Afghanistan for volunteer work. The group left South Korea on July 13 and was to return on July 23, she said, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to the media.