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Afghans Extend Deadline For UN Hostages

9 November 2004 -- A Taliban splinter group that has threatened to kill three UN hostages in Afghanistan has again extended its deadline.

Sayyed Khalid Agha, a spokesman who claims to speak for the Jaysh al-Muslimin (Army of the Muslims), told news agencies today that the group had put back the deadline until tomorrow.

He said the group decided to delay the deadline after contacts with representatives of the government and the United Nations, who he said would respond to the demands tomorrow.

The kidnappers have demanded the release of 26 Taliban prisoners as part of a deal to free UN workers Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Shqipe Hebibi from Kosovo, and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan. The three were abducted in Kabul on 28 October.