KABUL, Afghanistan – Newly freed South Korean church workers apologized Friday for causing trouble by being kidnapped for six weeks by the Taliban. One said she kept a secret diary of her ordeal on the lining of her trousers.
Some of the 19 former captives fell to the ground in shock when they were told that two members of their group had been killed by their captors, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Suh Myung-hwa, 29, showed reporters a pair of white pants she wore during captivity, on the inside of which she had written detailed records about when the kidnappers moved her, the time they had meals, the kinds of Korean food she longed to eat and other details.
"I had thought the family and people might be curious how I was. I also had worried that I might not remember anything later, so I jotted down the simple stuff such as our relocations," she said in an interview shown on South Korean television.
Suh and another former hostage Yoo Kyung-sik, 55, spoke to South Korean media in an interview in their hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Other foreign media were barred from the hotel by guards posted at the door.
"I can't sleep due to concerns that we caused so much trouble," Yoo said. "I feel very sorry."
The 19 South Koreans were taken by the Taliban on July 19, along with four other church workers, and released in stages on Wednesday and Thursday after their government repeated its pledge to withdraw its 200 troops from Afghanistan before year's end, and vowed to prevent missionaries from traveling to the country.
The insurgents released two of the church workers earlier this month.
"While kidnapped, all I could think about was staying alive," Suh said in the television interview. "I didn't feel any pain under captivity, I guess because I was in a panic the whole time, but now that the tension is gone my body aches all over," she said.
South Korean television showed the former hostages tearfully reuniting and hugging in the hotel.
The group had ignored warnings by their government against travel to Afghanistan. The government has been under intense pressure to bring them home safely and has faced criticism for negotiating with the captors.
Yoo said the group was traveling on a chartered bus in southern Afghanistan when two local men got on board with the permission of the driver, who said they were not dangerous. A half-hour later, the men fired shots and stopped the bus, Yoo said.
Yoo also said he and fellow hostages were first kept in a cellar. Later they were moved into a farmhouse. Six days later, they were separated into groups of three or four and kept on the move.
He said his group was moved 12 times, usually on motorbikes or on foot.
The Taliban claimed the South Koreans were missionaries — a charge denied by the government in Seoul and the hostages' relatives, who said they were doing aid work such as helping in hospitals.