The USG Open Source Center translates an article that appeared Friday concerning the Taleban capture of Korean aid workers.
"Afghan Taleban denies hostage deadline extended, gives warning
Afghan Islamic Press
Friday, July 27, 2007
Afghan Taleban denies hostage deadline extended, gives warning
Text of report by Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Kandahar, 27 July:
The Taleban say that the latest deadline for the abducted South Korean nationals has not be extended (the last deadline set was for 0730 gmt on 27 July).
Speaking to Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) over the phone after about a 24-hour delay, the Taleban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yusof Ahmadi, said: "The government delegation told us that new people have been included in the delegation and will soon find a solution. The delegation also said that the guest who came from South Korea will also be effective in this issue, so the delegation asked the Taleban to wait."
We also want to solve the problem, but if we realize that the government does not want to find a way out of the crisis, we will kill the hostages, the Taleban spokesman added.
When asked whether there was still a risk to the lives of the hostages, the spokesman said: If the Taleban perceive that the government is not releasing their prisoners and does not want to solve the problem, the Taleban will kill the Korean hostages.
Today, a member of the government delegation told AIP that the Taleban had agreed to extend the deadline for reaching an agreement on the fate of the Korean hostages.
AIP has so far not received any reports confirming direct negotiations between the Taleban and the government delegation.
(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans. The agency used to have good contacts with Taliban leadership; however, since the fall of the Taliban regime, it now describes itself as independent and self-financing)