The Taliban has extended the deadline for executing 23 South
Korean hostages for another 24 hours, a purported Taliban spokesman
Yousuf Ahmadi said Sunday.
The Taliban has threatened to kill all the hostages if Afghan
authorities failed to release 23 Taliban prisoners before 7:00 PM
(1430 GMT) on Sunday.
Immediately after the deadline expired, Ahmadi said the
Taliban would extend the deadline for another 24 hours as
the South Korean government makes positive contact
with the hostages.
Taliban militants kidnapped the 23 South Koreans on a road in
the central Ghazni Province on Thursday afternoon.
On Sunday, Afghan and the U.S.-led coalition forces cordoned off
a suspected Taliban hideout in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni in
order to secure the release of the hostages.
But the Taliban spokesman announced that all the 23
hostages would be executed if the troops rashly raided the
A South Korean team led by a vice foreign minister arrived in
Kabul on Sunday to facilitate the release of the hostages.
The Taliban also demanded the withdrawal of 200 South Korean
troops from Afghanistan but the South Korean
government reported that the soldiers would be pulled out
at the end of 2007 as scheduled.
Taliban militants have frequently carried out kidnappings in
Afghanistan over the past two years. The Taliban has
killed some hostages in the past.
(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2007)