July 25, 2007 / 8:17 AM / 12 years ago

Afghan Taliban say patience running out on Koreans

Family members of the kidnapped South Koreans in Afghanistan wait for television news about them in Seoul, July 24, 2007. REUTERS/Korea Pool

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said patience was running out in talks over 23 South Korean hostages kidnapped by insurgents in Afghanistan and said rebel prisoners must be freed by 0930 GMT on Wednesday.

“We had assurance from the Koreans that Kabul will release Taliban prisoners in batches and we will reciprocate,” Yousuf told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“We gave them eight Taliban names and they should have been freed by 7 pm (1430 GMT) yesterday, but nothing happened ...

“The Koreans should put pressure on Kabul on this for there is the risk that at any moment, any time something can happen to the hostages. If by two o’clock today (5:30 a.m. EDT), the Taliban are not freed, then some of them will probably be killed. Our patience is running out.”

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