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Afghan Militants Release Four Red Cross Hostages


Afghan officials say Taleban militants have released four International Red Cross employees who were abducted earlier this week in central Afghanistan.

Officials say the four men - one from Burma, one from Macedonia and two from Afghanistan - were freed Saturday. They were kidnapped Wednesday in central Wardak province.

Officials say the men had traveled to Wardak to try to secure the release of a German hostage kidnapped by the Taleban in July.

A Taleban commander said he ordered the four held hostage because he thought they were spies, but let them go once it was proven they were Red Cross workers. It was not clear why the German hostage was not released.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today said the men's unconditional release is a great relief to the organization.

The Taleban abducted two Germans in Wardak in July. One was later killed and the other is still being held.

The Red Cross workers said they had met with the German hostage.

In August, the Red Cross helped facilitate talks between the Taleban and South Korean officials that led to the release of 19 South Korean hostages.

Unidentified armed men are still holding a Bangladeshi aid worker kidnapped just south of the capital, Kabul, on September 15. Authorities in Bangladesh have appealed to the United States for help in securing his release.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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