Taliban Ups Demands for 23 Korean Hostages

Kidnappers want full prisoner release
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2007 8:33 AM CDT
An Afghan man rides a bicycle passes the South Korean embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, July 20, 2007. Taliban militants kidnapped at least 18 South Koreans, including 15 women, at gunpoint from...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Taliban militants holding 23 Korean aid workers hostage increased their demands today, insisting that  the government release all insurgent prisoners in the province, according to a kidnap spokesman. The militants threatened to kill the hostages  if a response isn't forthcoming by 10:30 a.m. EDT, the AP reports.

Local leaders were stood up today when they arrived to meet with the kidnappers. In March, Afghan President Hamid Karzai released  five Taliban prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped Italian reporter, invoking strident international criticism. Five Korean officials met with Karzai in Kabul yesterday.