German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Germany will
not give in to the demands of kidnappers and will not be
blackmailed into withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.
Merkel said in an interview with Germany's ARD television that
she had no new information about the fate of a German engineer
being held hostage in Afghanistan or the circumstances surrounding
the death of another German hostage.
A crisis team at the German foreign ministry was working around
the clock to secure the release of the second hostage, she
Merkel made the remarks after a purported Taliban spokesman said
on Saturday that Taliban fighters had executed two German hostages
because the German government had failed to meet their demands for
the departure of all German soldiers from Afghanistan.
The Taliban spokesman's authority was doubted by Berlin with
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying on Saturday
that German information suggested that one of the two German
hostages had apparently died of "stress and strain" while the other
is still alive.
Latest reports coming from Afghanistan said that Afghan police
had found the body of one of the German hostages in Wardak province
and a gunshot wound was found on his back.
A spokesman for the governor of Wardak province said that the
body was transported to Kabul Sunday evening for further
The two German nationals and five of their Afghan colleagues,
who are civil engineers working on a dam project in Afghanistan,
were reportedly abducted Wednesday in Wardak province, about 100 km
southwest of Kabul.
(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2007)