KABUL, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Taliban fighters have not freed eight female South Korean hostages on Wednesday, a purported Taliban spokesman told Xinhua from an undisclosed place.
This saying is contrary to the reports of the South Korean media, which quoted some unnamed South Korean officials as saying that eight female hostages had been released and were on their way to a U.S. military base in Ghazni province, where the hostages are being held.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zamarai Bashari told Xinhua "Up to now, I can not confirm that eight female hostages have been released."
Meanwhile, Ghazni provincial police chief Alishah Ahmadzai told Xinhua "I have not received any reports, which say eight hostages have been freed."
The Taliban spokesman Ahmadi said one male hostage was killed on Wednesday afternoon as Afghan authorities did not show enough sincerity in the talks.
Ahmadi said Taliban fighters killed him also to press the South Korean government to accept their demands.
The Taliban probably would kill more hostages at 1:00 a.m. local time on Thursday (2030 GMT on Wednesday) if its demands are not met, Ahmadi said.
The 23 South Koreans were kidnapped by Taliban militants on a road in Ghazni province last Thursday.
Afghan and the U.S.-led coalition forces have cordoned off a suspected Taliban hideout in Qarabagh district of Ghazni to secure the release of the hostages.
Meantime, the Taliban spokesman Ahmadi said militants would execute all the 23 hostages if the troops recklessly carried out a storm-like action.
The Taliban also demanded the withdrawal of 200 South Korean troops from this country. The South Korean government said the soldiers would be pulled out at the end of 2007 as scheduled.
Taliban militants have carried out kidnappings in this country over the past two years frequently, and some hostages were killed by the Taliban brutally.