Qari Yusof Ahmadi discussed the
fate of the hostages today in a telephone interview with RFE/RL's Radio
Free Afghanistan from an undisclosed location.
Demands Not Met
"Regarding those two German citizens who were abducted by the
mujahedin in Ghazni Province and were being held up to now by the
mujahedin. There was a demand from the Taliban to the German and Afghan
governments that German forces must leave Afghanistan and that the
Afghan government must release its Taliban prisoners," Ahmadi said.
"If they had accepted these demands, we would have released the
hostages," he added. "But the German government said that their forces
would not leave Afghanistan, and the Afghan government did not respond."
The second of the two Germans was reportedly shot dead at 1:10 p.m., local time, about an hour after the first was killed.
"If they had accepted these demands, we would have released the hostages." -- Taliban spokesman
However, AP quoted Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad
Bahin as saying one of the hostages had died of a heart attack, and
that the other was still alive. He said officials are still trying to
secure the release of the hostage.
The two unidentified Germans and five Afghans were abducted on July
18. Many reports have said they were kidnapped as they were traveling
in Wardak Province, about 100 kilometers south of Kabul, while Ahmadi
referred to their being abducted in Ghazni Province. The two Germans
were reportedly engineers working in the country.
Ministry initially responded to the Taliban demands by playing down
reports that the Taliban was behind the abductions.
On July 20, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said
there were "contradictions" between different claims about the
Today, the German Foreign Ministry said had no
independent confirmation about the executions. But Jaeger said the
German government was taking Ahmadi's statements "very seriously" and
was "pursuing all the indications."
The Taliban spokesman
did not mention the condition or fate of some 20 South Korea hostages
who were abducted by the Taliban in Ghazni Province on July 19.
group of Christian volunteers reportedly was abducted from a chartered
passenger bus while traveling on Afghanistan's main highway from
Kandahar to Kabul.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahin
confirmed today that the South Koreans are the largest group of
foreigners seized by the Taliban in their bid to oust Afghan President
Hamid Karzai's government and drive foreign security forces from the
"Our embassy in Korea had issued visas for 20 Korean
citizens based on a request by the South Korean nongovernmental
organization -- the Foundation for World Aid," Bahin said. "Of the 20
South Korean citizens, 13 are female and seven are male. They were here
to provide help for the 200-bed hospital in Kandahar Province."
spokeswoman in Seoul for the group said they had arrived in Afghanistan
on July 13 and were due to return to South Korea on July 23. Bahin
said the group did not inform Afghan security forces about their
intended destination before traveling.
South Koreans Still Held
In Seoul, South
Korean President Roh Moo-hyun demanded the immediate release of the
hostages. He told journalists today that his government is doing all it
can to secure the release of the group.
"I sincerely pray
the kidnapped are safely returned," he said. "The government has been
making every effort for the quick and safe return of them. I heard the
kidnapped were doing voluntary medical work there. They are innocent
people. They should not be taken as hostages. Those who kidnapped these
people should return the Koreans quickly and safely. In any case they
should not hurt people's lives -- which are priceless."
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said Seoul would keep to
its planned timetable of pulling its troops out of Afghanistan at the
end of this year.
His announcement followed demands by the Taliban for the withdrawal of some 200 South Korean troops in Afghanistan.