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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK
In pictures: S Korea hostage release

A freed female hostage is supported by a member of the Red Cross

On the dusty roads of central Afghanistan, a six-week kidnap ordeal at the hands of the Taleban has finally ended for a group of South Korean Christian aid workers.

A freed female hostage is accompanied to a Red Cross vehicle by a member of staff

With the help of tribal elders, the hostages were released in several groups over two days at separate locations around Ghazni province.

Five of the South Korean hostages released on Wednesday, accompanied by aid workers - 29/08/07

Three groups were released on Wednesday, followed by another two groups on Thursday.

Red Cross vehicles wait by the side of the road on Thursday await the hostages' release

They were all driven to safety in Red Cross vehicles. Yonhap news agency said they were taken to a US army base near Ghazni to rest.

Three released female hostages cover their faces as they travel in a Red Cross vehicle after their release on Wednesday - 29/08/07

Red Cross officials said the group were "relieved" and physically in good shape.

A female South Korean hostage released on Wednesday - 29/08/07

Relatives of the hostages were delighted to hear of the release. They have had an anxious wait for news of their loved ones.

Relatives of the South Korean hostages hear news of their release - 29/08/07

The church to which the hostages belong said all the families were "rejoicing".

Relatives of the South Korean hostages hear news of their release - 29/08/07

But joy at the release of the 19 is also tinged with sadness. Two men with the group were shot dead soon after being kidnapped.

A heavy machine gun mounted on an Afghan police vehicle is silhouetted in front of the flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross

The group are expected to move to a South Korean army base north of Kabul for check-ups before making their journey home.

Taleban release S Korean hostages
29 Aug 07 |  South Asia
S Korea press wary of hostage deal
30 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
S Koreans rethink missionary work
29 Aug 07 |  South Asia

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