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Afghan Kidnappers Criticize US


The kidnappers of three United Nations workers in Afghanistan have accused the United States of delaying resolution of the situation.

They told journalists Saturday that recent comments by a top U.S. official have frustrated their goal of deciding the abductees' fate by the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which began Saturday. On Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said negotiating with hostage-takers only encourages more.

The kidnappers - who belong to a group calling itself "Army of Muslims" - are demanding the release of 26 Taleban prisoners.

Officials with the Afghan government and the United Nations have declined to give details of their efforts to free the hostages.

The U.N. workers - women from Kosovo and Northern Ireland, and a man from the Philippines - were kidnapped in Kabul late last month.

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