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Afghanistan: ICRC facilitates release of twelve South Korean hostages

29-08-2007 News Release 07/97

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the release of twelve South Korean hostages in Afghanistan today.

  ©Reuters/Ahmad Masood    
  29 August 2007. Five released South Korean hostages walk with an ICRC delegate in the city of Ghazni.    

The ten women and two men had been held by an armed opposition group in Ghazni Province for more than six weeks. ICRC personnel handed them over to a South Korean delegation in the town of Ghazni. While the ICRC was unable to conduct a thorough medical examination, the hostages appeared to be in good physical health. The armed opposition group told the ICRC that the remaining 7 Korean hostages should be freed shortly.

The ICRC served as a neutral intermediary at the request of both the armed opposition group and the South Korean delegation. On 13 August the organization had already facilitated the release of two South Korean hostages. On several occasions it had also helped to arrange direct talks between both parties at the provincial headquarters of the Afghan Red Crescent Society in Ghazni.

" The liberation of the twelve hostages is a great relief for their families in South Korea, " said Reto Stocker, head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul. " The ICRC stands ready to facilitate the release of the remaining 7 hostages. "

In accordance with its mandate under international humanitarian law, the ICRC has been assisting and protecting victims of armed conflict in Afghanistan since 1987.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2271 or +41 79 217 32 17