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No Word on Fate of Kidnapped South Koreans


There is no word on the fate of 22 South Korean hostages held by Afghan Taleban militants following the expiration of two deadlines Monday.

Taleban militants had extended an earlier deadline by four hours (until 4 p.m. local time/11:30 UTC) to continue negotiations for their release.

Kidnappers had threatened to start killing the 22 South Koreans unless the Afghan government agreed to free Taleban prisoners.

The leader of the South Korean captives was shot to death last week, but several other threats to begin killing the remaining hostages have not be carried out.

The group of Christian aid workers were abducted July 19th while traveling by bus to southern Kandahar, a Taleban stronghold. They came to Afghanistan to do humanitarian work.

Earlier Monday, female hostage Yoo Jung-hwa pleaded for help during a telephone call to reporters.

She said she and the other hostages are very scared, and that their captors threaten to kill them one by one.

The body of the slain captive arrived home Monday. However his family members said there would be no funeral until the 22 remaining hostages are freed.

President Hamid Karzai, meeting with a South Korean presidential envoy about the hostage crisis, denounced what he called the kidnappers' "total contempt" for traditional Islamic and Afghan values.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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