Afghan Hostage Talks Stall as Threats Escalate

Karzai blasts Taliban, saying abductions are 'against Islam'
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2007 11:51 AM CDT
South Korean Presidential envoy, Baek Jong-chun, left, meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 29, 2007. Afghan officials reported no progress...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Taliban will kill 22 South Korean hostages tomorrow if the Afghan government does not release insurgent prisoners, a spokesman for the kidnappers said today. The Taliban leadership council issued the most recent death threat since the abductions Wednesday, signaling its seriousness, Reuters reports. And Afghan and foreign troops are stationed in Ghazni, where the hostages are being held.

Meanwhile, Hamid Karzai broke his silence to denounce the kidnapping, especially of 18 women, as "in total contempt of our Islamic and Afghan values." But the Afghan PM remained mum on a possible deal. He came under fire for releasing five Taliban prisoners in exchange for an Italian hostage last year, and negotiations are now at a standstill.