Korean Christian hostages
Twenty-three Korean Christian aid workers, most of them women, were seized by Taliban gunmen in Ghazni province in Afghanistan on 19 July as they travelled by bus. Two men from the group have been killed, including the group’s leader, Bae Hyung Kyu, aged 42, who according to Barnabas Fund had been very active in Christian ministry of many kinds. He leaves a wife and daughter.
There continues to be some confusion about the whereabouts and well-being of the other group members and, as we go to press, it is believed that 21 hostages remain alive, although it has been announced that at least two women are very sick.
South Korean officials are seeking direct mediation with the Taliban captors but the US, who have a military presence in the area, have not ruled out the use of force to release the party. This is the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
The church group are volunteers from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and the denomination has issued an urgent prayer appeal to the global Christian community on behalf of the remaining 21 Korean hostages held by the militants. The group was in the country to provide free medical services to poor Afghan citizens.