Taliban kills South Korean hostage

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- One of 23 South Koreans held hostage in Afghanistan by the Taliban has been killed, a local official and a Taliban spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.

Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi said the man had been killed because Taliban demands -- which included a prisoner release and withdrawal of South Korean troops from the country -- hadn't been met. Yousif told CNN it was probable that the remaining hostages would be killed by 1 a.m. Thursday local time (2030 GMT) if the demands weren't met. Afghan police said they had recovered the hostage's bullet-ridden body, The Associated Press reported. Khawaja Mohammad Siddiqi, the district governor of Qara Bagh, told CNN the executed hostage had been very ill and could not be moved to hospital. Siddiqi said the Taliban were holding the remaining Korean hostages in three different locations. The 23 church volunteers -- 18 women and five men -- were seized on the main road south from Kabul last week. South Korea's Yonhap news agency was reporting that eight of the hostages had been freed. CNN was unable to confirm the report. Speaking earlier by telephone to Reuters, Yousif warned the Taliban's latest demand for the release of prisoners in exchange for the remaining hostages was the ""last deadline."" ""Since Kabul's administration did not listen to our demand and did not free our prisoners, the Taliban shot dead a male Korean hostage,"" Yousif said. ""That time is the last deadline,"" he told Reuters. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pledged not to swap prisoners for hostages after being heavily criticized for releasing five Taliban from jail in March in exchange for an Italian reporter. The Taliban has also demanded Seoul withdraw its 200 troops from Afghanistan, something the South Korean government said it had planned to do at the end of this year in any case. Meanwhile, a German journalist kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan has been freed, the Kunar province governor told CNN. The German news magazine Stern earlier on Wednesday said Christoph Reuter, 39, and his Afghan translator were missing and feared kidnapped. There was no word about the status of the Afghan translator. Reuter has worked for the Hamburg-based publication since 2002 and had previously reported from Afghanistan and Iraq, writing a book on suicide bombers. According to Stern, Reuter left Kabul for Jalalabad on Monday, but had not contacted the magazine for several days. The statement said Stern was concerned for his welfare. News reports said the kidnapping occurred late Tuesday