Update 11am Eastern: Alive for now.
Another deadline has passed. The fate of the 22 remaining South Korean Christian hostages kidnapped by Taliban thugs in Afghanistan remains unclear:
The fate of the remaining 22 South Korean hostages held by the Taliban in Afghanistan was not known after the expiry of a Friday noon (3:30 a.m. EDT) deadline by the group. Officials in Ghazni, where the Christian hostages are believed to be held, refused to speak to the media…The Taliban have already killed the leader of the 23 volunteers they snatched from a bus on the main highway south of the capital Kabul last week, but several previous deadlines have passed without them carrying out their threats.
The Taliban spokesman said Afghan authorities had asked for more time after the insurgents presented the government with a list of eight prisoners it wanted released. “The administration of Kabul has asked us to give them till 12 noon today,” spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters by telephone from an unknown location.
“We are waiting for them. We have given them a list of eight prisoners and if they are not released we won’t have any other option than to start killing the hostages.”
Chosun reports on the broadcast of one hostage’s voice and plea:
Eight days after the abduction of 23 Koreans in Afghanistan, the voice of one of the young women in the group was heard for the first time on Thursday. “We are in a very difficult time. Please help us,” said a woman who introduced herself as Im Hyun-joo (32), a former nurse from Seoul, in a phone interview with U.S. broadcaster CBS.
Im speaks Dari, an Afghan dialect of Farsi. She spoke Korean and Dari in the interview. “All of us are sick and in very bad condition. We are all pleading for you to help us get out of here as soon as possible. Really, we beg you.” She said she was with 17 other women while the men were being held separately.
The network arranged the interview with a Taliban commander.
Yonhap reports that the body of the slain pastor is expected to arrive in South Korea via a U.S. military base in Bagram.