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Afghan, Taleban Officials Seek Location to Negotiate Hostage Release

  • VOA News

Afghan and South Korean officials, and the Taleban kidnappers of the 21 remaining South Korean hostages are still seeking a meeting place for negotiations to release the hostages.

The parties have been working on Saturday to find a negotiating venue acceptable to all sides. The Taleban has been reluctant to meet in an area controlled by the Afghan government.

A South Korean delegation has been in Afghanistan for several days hoping to meet with the Taleban captors of the Korean aid workers held since July 19th.

South Korean presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-Seon said officials told the Taleban that Seoul is not able to meet demands to free militant prisoners held by Afghanistan in exchange for the Korean hostages.

On Saturday, an unidentified female South Korean hostage told VOA's Afghan service many of the hostages were sick and that she was unsure of how long they could survive under their present conditions.

A team of private Afghan doctors has volunteered to treat the remaining hostages, two of whom are reported to be seriously ill. It is not clear if the offer has been accepted.

The kidnappers have already killed two male hostages, accusing the Afghan government of ignoring their demand to release rebel prisoners. The remaining hostages, mostly female, are South Korean Christians who were on a humanitarian mission.

The Afghan government has refused to negotiate a prisoner swap since the 23 Koreans were kidnapped while on a bus headed to Kandahar from Kabul.

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