A Taleban spokesman says the militant group has released two of the 21 South Korean hostages held for more than three weeks in Afghanistan.
The spokesman says the two women hostages were freed as a goodwill gesture onSaturday. Both of the freed hostages are described as being sick, but there is no further information about their condition. There also is no confirmation of the release from Afghan or South Korean officials.
This announcement comes after a second round of negotiations between Taleban representatives and South Korean delegates in the southern Afghan city of Ghazni.
Twenty-three 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.
The Afghan government has said from the start it would not exchange prisoners for hostages.
Earlier this year, the Afghan government released five top Taleban prisoners in exchange for an Italian journalist being held hostage.
The decision was widely criticized by the United States and other nations that argued it would provoke more kidnappings.