Skip to comments.Taleban 'release two S. Koreans hostages'
Posted on 08/11/2007 10:16:16 AM PDT by Ghayyour
Taleban militants in Afghanistan say they have freed two women from among the 21 South Korean hostages they are holding as a "gesture of goodwill". Taleban negotiators, who have been holding talks with a South Korean delegation in the city of Ghazni, had said earlier a deal could be near.
No Afghan or South Korean officials have been able to confirm the release.
The South Korean Christian aid workers were seized last month. Two have already been killed by the rebels.
"Our leadership council decided to free unconditionally and as a gesture of goodwill two women hostages who are sick," spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP news agency.
Another spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said the move would "show that we're honest in our talks and expect the government to be honest and free our prisoners".
Swap ruled out
The second day of talks, which were held in the central city of Ghazni, had already ended with no apparent resolution.
The rebels are demanding the release of comrades held by the Afghan government.
But the Afghan government, stung by criticism over a previous prisoner exchange, has ruled out a swap to secure the release of the Koreans.
The original group of 23 - most of them women - was seized on 19 July as they travelled by bus on the main road from Kabul to Kandahar.
The two men who were killed included the leader of the group.
It is thought the South Korean aid workers are being held in a number of small groups in a village about 10km (six miles) from Ghazni.
Prayers for the hostages.