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Report: Taleban Says South Korean Hostage Negotiations 'Fail Completely'

An Afghan news agency quotes Taleban insurgents as saying negotiations for the lives of 22 South Korean hostages have failed. Earlier, the militants in Afghanistan had said they would start killing the captives if their demands were not met. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.

Monday's report from the independent news agency Afghan Islamic Press says Taleban insurgents have labeled negotiations a "complete failure," and renewed a threat to kill all 22 South Korean hostages.

Insurgents already killed a 23rd hostage, a 42-year-old Christian pastor, last Thursday - one week after they seized the group of Christian aid workers in Afghanistan. His body arrived Monday in South Korea.

A senior South Korean presidential envoy is in Afghanistan seeking to save the hostages' lives. However, Afghan officials have so far refused Taleban demands to free several insurgents from prison.

In Seoul, South Korean presidential spokesman Chun Ho-seon confirmed Monday a Korean shipment of medical supplies intended for the hostages had reached the Taleban.

Chun encourages the families of the hostages not to lose heart, saying the government is doing its very best to save them.

Hostage Yoo Jung-hwa pleaded for help Monday in a phone call to reporters.

"We are so scared," she said. "Sometimes they threaten to kill us one by one."

The kidnappers have extended deadlines for killing the other hostages several times. However, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who calls himself a spokesman for the Taleban, told reporters Monday the captives remain very much in danger.

Ahmadi says insurgents will soon begin killing more hostages, without regard to gender. Eighteen of the surviving 22 hostages are female.

Several hundred South Korean civilian and military personnel provide non-combat support to U.S.-led multinational stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. However, the hostages made their trip illegally.