Afghan and coalition troops have killed 75 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, while a self-proclaimed spokesman for the Taliban says the deadline has been extended for talks concerning its 23 South Korean hostages. The Afghan militants are threatening to kill the captured Koreans unless 23 of its own jailed fighters are freed.
The president of South Korea has appealed for calm, while the deputy interior minister of Afghanistan has said his country is not prepared to make a deal "against our national interest." However, he did not specifically refer to freeing prisoners. More than 3,500 people, most of them militants, have been killed this year in Afghanistan in violence connected with the insurgency. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)