s.korean hostages 88.
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Relatives of South Korean hostages held in Afghanistan expressed disappointment Tuesday that a summit between the US and Afghan leaders failed to produce concrete measures to bring the captives home.
US President George W. Bush hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a talks at the Camp David presidential retreat, where the hostage standoff received only scant public mention. The 21 captives held by the Taliban were not directly addressed by the two leaders at their news conference Monday.
"We could barely sleep while waiting for the results of the summit meeting, as we were full of such high hope and expectations that the release and safe return of our family members abducted there is up to the meeting of two leaders," said Cha Sung-min, a spokesman for relatives of the hostages, at their Saemmul Community Church in Bundang, south of Seoul.
"The result, however, turned out to be falling short of actively saving their precious lives," he said.
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said the results of the summit were anticipated and cautioned that the country should be prepared for a protracted standoff, noting that other hostages in Afghanistan had been held an average of 35 days.
Song also said none of the captives were suffering from critical health problems.
"The hostages can't be perfectly healthy after nearly 20 days in captivity. In that sense, they are not healthy on the whole," Song told reporters, according to Yonhap news agency. "There has been no symptom of any of the hostages being critically ill."
The group of 23 church volunteers was abducted July 19 while riding in a bus from Kabul to Kandahar. The Taliban have killed two men and threatened to kill more hostages if insurgent fighters are not released from government custody.
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