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Afghan Governor: Taleban Will Release Two South Korean Hostages on Monday

  • VOA News

An Afghan government official said on Sunday that two of 21 South Korean hostages held by the Taleban in Afghanistan will be freed on Monday.

Ghazni Provincial Governor Merajuddin Pattan says the Taleban have promised to release two women hostages as a gesture of good will.

Pattan spoke as an earlier pledge to release the two women on Sunday had not been carried out by nightfall. On Saturday, a Taleban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the two women hostages had been released, but then reversed that to say all 21 were still being held.

Earlier on Sunday, a third round of talks took place at the offices of the International Society of the Red Crescent (Red Cross) 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.

Earlier this year, the Afghan government released five top Taleban prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist.

The decision was widely criticized by the United States and other nations which argued it would provoke more kidnappings.

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