The funny thing is, if you read all these stories, it's only the Taliban spokesmen who assert that the hostages will be freed. The governor of Ghazni knows nothing about it, and the South Korean negotiators are not hopeful. The Taliban claim that the decision has already been made, yet their original demands are still in place. With no cooperation evident from the Afghan authorities and the imminent departure of the South Korean aid groups?
I'm smelling a rat. It seems to me that the Taliban are offering a little bait to the media, setting themselves up as the magnanimous good guys. The media of course, are swallowing it whole. These guys aren't dumb, they know how the world hangs on the media's reporting of events, and they know that the media in general are sympathetic to them. There's already public pressure in South Korea to resolve the situation. The Taliban are offering some honey to lull the negotiators into agreeing to their demands, I think. But their actions say otherwise.
"The Taliban say they have split the hostages into small groups and said any useWe're running out of time to do that, I'm afraid.
of force to try to free them would put their lives at risk."
Additional: There are unconfirmed reports that the Taliban have released two of the hostages, apparently the women who are sick, as a "good will gesture." Hardly. I suspect that if this is true, the two hostages are too sick for them to treat. As I said in previous posts, more dead hostages don't do the Taliban any good, especially during negotiations. More honey, I suspect; this way they look like good guys, yet can still barter for the same number of their own goons.
Addendum: I don't want to come across as cynical, so I'll say that we should still be praying for their release. God can do wonderful things, so these announcements do offer some hope.
Update: No release for hostages yet.
Evidently the "good will" of the Taliban is not so good after all. Some of the hostages may yet be released, and I hope they will be. The Taliban claim it, but the "timing is still being decided," whatever that means. It could be a stalling tactic, or it could indicate dispute in the Taliban leadership over what to do. I suspect it's the latter; as I said earlier, releasing two sick hostages doesn't really weaken their negotiating strength all that much. Not as much as two dead hostages do.
The MSM response? Silence.