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Taliban Issues New Deadline for S Korean Hostages
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The Taliban has once again issued a deadline for remaining 21 South Korean hostages, which would last until 12:00 PM (07:30 GMT) on Wednesday, a purported Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said Tuesday.

Ahmadi told Xinhua from an undisclosed place that Taliban fighters would kill more hostages if their demands are not met.

He also said some hostages now were in very bad condition, and they may die themselves.

This is the ninth time that Taliban militants have set a deadline for executing some hostages.

The Taliban spokesman Ahmadi said a second hostage was shot dead at around 8:30 PM (16:00 GMT) on Monday as the Afghan government was not serious in the talks. He said the dead body was dumped near Kabul-Ghazni highway.

Earlier on Tuesday, the police said the body of the killed male hostage was found in the central Ghazni province, where the hostages are being held.

The body, which was riddled with bullets, was found in Andar district on Monday night, Ghazni police chief Alishah Ahmadzai told Xinhua.

The Taliban has insisted the exchange of Taliban prisoners for the hostages. But apparently the Afghan government is reluctant to release Taliban prisoners.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials seemingly are trying to persuade Taliban militants into releasing the hostages by saying the kidnapping of foreigners especially the female is against Islam and Afghan culture.

But the Taliban said it would kill more hostages if Afghan authorities did not free Taliban prisoners.

The Afghan government claims its troops have surrounded the area, where the hostages are being held, to secure their release. But the Taliban said it would execute all hostages if the troops recklessly carried out a storm.

South Korean authorities on Monday repeated that they ruled out the use of forces to solve the crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2007)

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