[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 12 August 2007, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Confusion over Taleban releases
Taleban representatives Mullah Qari Bashir, left, and Mawlawi Nasrullah
The Taleban expressed optimism about the Ghazni talks
Hopes that the Taleban in Afghanistan might release two South Korean hostages have been thrown into disarray.

A Taleban spokesman told reporters on Saturday that the two had already been freed - but he now says the timing of the release has yet to be decided.

The women - both of whom are ill - are among 21 South Korean aid workers kidnapped last month.

South Korean officials have held direct talks with the Taleban, who want their militants released from Afghan jails.

Taleban spokesman Yusuf Ahmadi on Sunday said the two ill hostages would be freed because of progress made during two days of talks in the central city of Ghazni.

However he added: "The time hasn't been decided. It could be today."

Map of Afghanistan
Mr Ahmadi has at times given false information, reports the BBC's Charles Haviland in Kabul.

The Taleban have already killed two of the Koreans, including the leader of the group.

The South Korean Christian aid workers were seized on 19 July.

The original group of 23 - most of them women - was captured on the main road from Kabul to Kandahar.

It is thought the South Korean aid workers are being held in a number of small groups in a village about 10km (six miles) from Ghazni.

The Afghan government, stung by criticism over a previous prisoner exchange, has ruled out a swap to secure the release of the Koreans.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of some of the Korean hostages





FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific