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Taliban Accepts Direct Talks with S Korean Government
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The Taliban accepted to hold direct talks with the South Korean government on 21 hostages, a purported Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told Xinhua from an undisclosed place on Thursday.

Ahmadi said the Taliban is disappointed with the Afghan government as it did not show sincerity in the negotiations.

He also said 16 hostages are not in good condition, while two female hostages are in very serious condition.

Earlier Thursday, some media reports quoted Afghan officials as saying South Korean diplomats in Afghanistan were seeking direct talks with the Taliban.

Taliban rebels killed two male South Korean hostages on July 25 and July 30 separately to press Afghan and South Korean authorities to meet their demands.

Up to now, the Afghan government has not agreed to release Taliban prisoners as the Taliban has demanded to exchange for the hostages.

A total of 23 South Koreans were kidnapped by Taliban militants on a road in the central Ghazni province on July 19.

(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2007)

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