Taliban: No progress made in S Korean hostage talks

By Xinhua

Ghazni (Afghanistan) : No progress has been made in talks on 22 South Korean hostages on Friday, and their lives would be "in danger" if the negotiations go on like this, a purported Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told Xinhua from an undisclosed place.

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Ahmadi said the special envoy for the South Koran president apparently did not succeed in moving the talks forward.

The Taliban on Friday once again extended the deadline for executing South Korean hostages, Governor of Ghazni province Merajudin Pathan told Xinhua.

Pathan did not say when the deadline would be extended until, but said no hostage was killed after the deadline expired at 12:00p.m. (0730 GMT) on Friday.

The Taliban killed one South Korean hostage on Wednesday and the dead body has been found by the police.

Ahmadi said the hostage was killed as Afghan authorities did not show enough sincerity in the talks and the Taliban also wanted to press the South Korean government to accept their demands.

The 23 South Koreans were kidnapped by Taliban militants on a road in Ghazni province on July 19.

Afghan and the U.S.-led coalition forces have cordoned off suspected Taliban hideouts in Qarabagh district of Ghazni to secure the release of the hostages.

Meantime, the Taliban spokesman Ahmadi claimed that they would execute all hostages if the troops recklessly carry out a storm.

The Taliban also demanded the withdrawal of 200 South Korean troops from Afghanistan. The South Korean government said the soldiers would be pulled out at the end of 2007 as scheduled.

Taliban militants have carried out kidnappings over the past two years frequently, and some hostages were killed by the Taliban.