The latest development in the Korean hostage crisis is that the Taliban has turned to the United Nations to guarantee the safety of Taliban negotiators. It is a bit ironic that the Taliban is turning to the UN for protection when the Taliban has been actively murdering UN aid workers in Afghanistan. It is not clear what negotiating power the Koreans will have since they have ruled out military force and the Afghan government is not going to release the Taliban prisoners.
Meanwhile eight Korean government lawmakers are trying to harass Presidents Bush and Karzai who are meeting at Camp David into releasing Taliban prisoners:
Separately, eight South Korean lawmakers met State Department officials in Washington on Thursday to seek help.
"We have confirmed the complete support and sympathy for the Korean hostages who are going through great distress," lawmaker Park Jin told reporters after the meeting.
The South Korean government has called for "flexibility", a comment analysts say is directed at the United States to sway the Afghan government to strike a deal with the kidnappers.
This is only going to cause Karzai to be less likely to release any Taliban prisoners. There is no way Karzai is going to release Taliban prisoners after being publicly pressured by the Korean government because it makes him look weak to the Afghani public. I’m sure the Korean government officials know this, but the purpose of the trip was to deflect blame not an attempt to constructively work towards solving the hostage crisis. These South Korean politicians are trying to show the Korean public that their government is trying to do something, but Bush and Karzai are the ones not doing anything.
While the Korean government is trying to set up the US as the bogeymen if the hostages are killed, the US military is busy actually doing something that will help the hostages. Over past two weeks increasing military operations have been launched against Taliban leadership targets. It appears that the US military is putting pressure on the Taliban leadership by knocking them off one by one. The latest Taliban leader to be reportedly killed was Mansor Dadullah who if you remember correctly from the Newsweek article was the Taliban leader who was in charge of foreigner kidnappings in Afghanistan.
If the US military is able to accurately target Taliban leadership like they have these past few weeks they almost certainly are tracking the movements of the Korean hostages as well. The Taliban kidnappers probably realize this and are probably now hesitant to kill any more hostages because it would mean the US military would be forced to launch a hostage rescue mission to save what hostages they could.
It is amazing that with all the anti-US demagoguery by the Korean government, anti-US groups, and media that the one country doing more than anyone else to free the Korean hostages is the United States. Holding one man vigils in front of the US embassy in Seoul will not save the hostages, negotiating from a point of strength by killing top Taliban leadership targets will.