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. (Read more kidnapping stories.)