July 24, 2007

Negotiations to free the 23 Korean hostages at a crucial stage

Taliban rebels said negotiations to free the 23 Korean hostages they are holding in Afghanistan were at a crucial stage. Talks between the Taliban and Afghan tribal elders, who are liaising with the Kabul government and South Korea, went on as a rebel deadline for Seoul to agree to pull its 200 troops out of Afghanistan passed on Tuesday. No new deadline had been set. The militants, who are also seeking the release of Taliban prisoners, have warned that use of force by government troops surrounding them would put the lives of the 23 Christian hostages -- 18 women and five men -- at risk.

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