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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

Theories from the battle ground's dressing room.

Monday, October 15, 2007

By Massoud Ansari in Kila Abdullah, Pakistan The Telegraph (UK) / October 14, 2007

Millions of dollars handed over to secure the release of South Korean hostages in Afghanistan have been used to buy weapons deployed against British and American forces in the country, the Taliban claims.

Major Alexis Roberts, 32, Prince William's former platoon commander at Sandhurst, was one of the victims of the Taliban offensive funded by the hostage money.

According to Taliban fighters interviewed by The Sunday Telegraph, the money has also been used to train recruits to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain and America.

South Korea has repeatedly denied claims by Afghan officials that it paid cash to secure the release in August of 21 Christian volunteers who were held for nearly six weeks. But in a recent meeting, three Taliban fighters involved in the conflict with the British in Helmand province said that $10 million cash handed over in two instalments had been used to boost operations in Afghanistan and abroad.

"It was a God-sent opportunity," said Mullah Hezbollah, 30. "It has helped us to multiply our stockpile of weapons and explosives to wage battle for at least a year or so."

He said the money had been paid in August, shortly before the Taliban's fugitive spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, ordered Operation Nusrat (victory), an offensive against coalition troops which ran throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which finished last week. During the operation, four British soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan, including Major Roberts
posted by Travis, 6:23 pm

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