Presidential Spokesman Cheon Ho-seon made the following announcement in an evening briefing today.
Korean officials and Taliban negotiators held face-to-face talks from 5:48 to 7:20 this afternoon in
connection with the Korean citizens held hostage in Afghanistan.
The Korean Government and the Taliban reached an agreement to release all 19 Korean hostages in
Afghanistan in return for the pullout of Korean troops there within this year and a pledge to stop sending
Christian missionaries to the country.
The following is the official position of the Presidential office.
Together with the families of the hostages and all Korean citizens, the Korean Government welcomes
the agreement reached this afternoon to release all the 19 hostages.
We greatly appreciate the patience of the families and all Koreans and the cooperation of the press in
their coverage of the hostage situation. Our special thanks also go to the Government of Afghanistan,
allied nations and multinational forces stationed in Afghanistan as well as international organizations
involved for their undivided cooperation.
At the same time, the Government prays for the repose of the souls of the two Korean citizens who were
sacrificed in the kidnapping incident and once again offers profound condolences to the families of the
The Government will take all necessary measures so that the agreement will be carried out without any
discrepancy and that all the kidnapped citizens will be able to return to their families as soon as
Immediately after the face-to-face contact began, the Government convened a Security Policy
Coordination Council meeting. President Roh attended the meeting personally and received an interim
progress report. In addition, as soon as the contact ended just minutes ago, the President received
another report and said as follows:
“Everyone did a good job. It is fortunate that all Koreans are relieved of a major source of anguish. I
want the officials in charge to attend to every detail until the last minute so there will be no glitch.”
Cheong Wa Dae