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June 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A purported spokesman for the Taliban, Shahabuddin Atal, has said the militants killed one of their Afghan hostages today, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.
Afghan Health Minister Mohammad Amin Fatemi told RFE/RL had said earlier today that Dadullah's body would be exchanged for the release of the five health workers.
A representative of Dadullah's family was expected to receive his body.
A spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, Zalmai Bashari, told RFE/RL after Atal said the captors had killed a hostage that the ministry has no knowledge of the execution.
The Taliban spokesman had threatened that militants would kill all the hostages if the authorities did not hand over Dadullah's body as soon as possible.
Dadullah was killed by U.S.-led forces in May.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition says it killed about two dozen Taliban fighters on June 4 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.
Taliban fighters reportedly attacked coalition forces with rockets and gunfire in the province's Shah Wali Kot district about 35 kilometers north of Kandahar city.
The coalition says its aircraft bombed three Taliban positions during the four-hour battle, which was on the eastern edge of a defensive perimeter around the strategic Kajaki Dam in neighboring Helmand Province.
(with material from AP, AFP)
EYE OF A STORM:
Afghan officials first suggested that insurgents or terrorists were crossing the border from Pakistan in 2003. Relations have run hot and cold ever since. But the roots of the problem go back much further.
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