A Taliban leader taking part in hostage negotiations for the lives of 21 South Koreans said Saturday that the hostages would "definitely" be released and possibly as soon as "today or tomorrow."
Mullah Qari Bashir said that face-to-face negotiations with four Korean officials that began Friday were going well and that the Taliban were sticking with their original demand, that 21 Taliban prisoners be released from prisons in Afghanistan.
"God willing the government (of Afghanistan) and the government of Korea will accept this," Bashir said outside the Afghan Red Cross office in Ghazni. "Definitely these people will be released. God willing our friends will be released."
Asked when the Koreans might be freed, he said: "Hopefully today or tomorrow."
"I'm very optimistic. The negotiations are continuing on a positive track," Bashir said.