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Final hostages freed by Taliban

  • Story Highlights
  • Final seven South Korean hostages handed over to Red Cross by the Taliban
  • Last of 23 aid workers taken in July; two killed, remaining 21 freed
  • S. Korea promises to halt Christian missionary work, honor troop withdrawal
  • S. Korea says no payment to captors, nor release of Taliban prisoners
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(CNN) -- Taliban kidnappers Thursday released the seven remaining South Korean hostages and handed them over to Red Cross officials, Afghan and Taliban officials said.

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Two hostages, left and right, walk with a Red Cross official Thursday after being released in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, Taliban militants released a total of 12 South Korean hostages, part of the group of 19 Christian aid workers who have been held for nearly six weeks.

The kidnappers freed the 10 women and two men in three separate groups, a day after South Korea announced its team of negotiators in Afghanistan had reached a deal with them.

The hostages are part of an original group of 23 South Korean Christian aid workers -- most of them women -- abducted by Taliban militants on July 19 as they traveled on a bus in Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan.

The kidnappers later executed two of the South Koreans. On August 13, they freed two women who were said to be ill, as a "gesture of goodwill," according to a Taliban spokesman.

Under the terms of an agreement reached on Tuesday, South Korea agreed to stick by its decision to withdraw its 200 non-combat troops from Afghanistan, who do mostly engineering and medical work.

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In addition, Seoul promised to halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan.

A South Korean presidential spokesman said there was no agreement to pay the captors, nor was there any mention of releasing Taliban prisoners -- a major demand of the kidnappers. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul contributed to this report.

All About AfghanistanAfghanistan WarThe Taliban

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