In a hopeful sign for the 21 South Korean hostages being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the terroist groups has agreed to release two of their hostages who apparently are sick: Qari Yousef Ahmadi, the Taliban spokesman, said the two South Korean hostages would be released in part because Taliban leaders were happy with the progress being made in face-to-face talks between two Taliban leaders and South Korean negotiators.
"The time hasn't been decided. It could be today," Ahmadi said of the release, reiterating an announcement he first made on Saturday.
The reliability of Ahmadi's information is questionable. Some of his reports turn out to be true but some do not. Franz Rauchenstein, an official with the International Committee of the Red Cross, said Sunday he had no information about "when and how and where these hostages are going to be released," referring to the two women.
Past releases in other hostage situations have been coordinated through the Red Cross. Two Taliban leaders and four South Korean officials met Saturday for a second day of face-to-face talks.
The Taliban kidnapped 23 South Koreans, all volunteers from a church group, last month and later executed two male captives by gunfire. Taliban leaders have demanded that 21 militant prisoners be released in exchange for the Koreans' lives, though the government has said it won't release any prisoners.
The Taliban is milking this situation for all that it's worth. But the western press, with a few notable exceptions, has basically ignored the story.
The Afghan government is getting more and more concerned because of a recent trade deal signed with the Chinese that would heavily utilize the road where the South Koreans were kidnapped. If that road is not safe, it may scuttle the lucrative deal with their giant neighbor.