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Taliban should be ashamed of itself for seizing civilians - UN envoy

Taliban should be ashamed of itself for seizing civilians - UN envoy

Tom Koenigs, SRSG for Afghanistan
While welcoming last night’s final release of South Korean hostages in Afghanistan, the top United Nations envoy in the country said the Taliban rebels who took them captive and killed two of them should be ashamed of themselves for attacking civilians.

“This campaign of abductions and murders must stop,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Tom Koenigs said in a statement. “To those Taliban who were responsible for this crime I say shame on you. What gain can there be from bringing harm upon innocent civilians? What honour is there in kidnapping and mistreating women, and so many of them?”

Mr. Koenigs called for the immediate release of other people still being held, including Afghans and a German citizen.

“The Taliban, as one of the parties to the current conflict, must recognize its responsibility to protect civilians from harm,” he said.

The 23 civilians from the Republic of Korea (ROK) were seized in southern Afghanistan more than a month ago. Two hostages were subsequently killed and two others were freed before all the rest were released in two batches this week.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson last night, Mr. Ban commended the efforts of the Afghan authorities and of all those who assisted with the negotiations to obtain their release.

“Despite the tragic death of two of the hostages in July, he is happy that those released are now on their way to being safely reunited with their loved ones,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of the other nationals who are being held against their will in Afghanistan,” it added. “The Secretary-General deplores the ongoing abductions and senseless murders of innocent civilians in Afghanistan.”