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Taleban Says Two South Korean Hostages Held in Afghanistan to be Released Soon


Taleban spokesman said today that two of 21 South Korean hostages held by the militant group in Afghanistan will be freed soon.

On Saturday, the same spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the two women hostages had been released, but then reversed that to say all 21 were still being held.

The spokesman said the move was a goodwill gesture, adding that face-to-face talks between Taleban leaders and South Korean delegates were "going very well."

A third round of talks are taking place today at the offices of the International Society of the Red Crescent in the southern Afghan city of Ghazni.

A spokesman Jean Pascal Moret says Red Cross staff are standing by in case any of the hostages are released.

23 South Koreans were abducted by Taleban militants July 19th while traveling through Ghazni province on a humanitarian mission. The kidnappers have since executed two male hostages.

The captors have repeatedly threatened to kill more of the South Koreans unless the Afghan government and U.S. military release Taleban prisoners. However, the Afghan government has refused the demands.

Earlier this year, the Afghan government released five top Taleban prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist.

The decision was widely criticized by the United States and other nations which argued it would provoke more kidnappings.


Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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