The Taleban in Afghanistan is pushing for a prisoner release in return for freeing its remaining 21 South Korean hostages.
A top Taleban spokesman says the group would consider releasing the captives in exchange for pro-Taleban female prisoners held by U.S. forces.
The statement comes one day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. President George Bush ruled out any deals with the Taleban kidnappers.
Taleban militants have already killed two male hostages.
Afghan officials say they are working to help South Korean officials set up face-to-face talks with the Taleban. They say no steps toward military action are being taken at this time.
Protesters and relatives of the victims have complained there have not been enough international efforts to free them.