The Taliban set a new midday Monday deadline for the lives of 22 South Koreans, warning the Afghan government to release some of its captured fighters or else the hostages will die.
The Taliban last week set several deadlines that passed without consequence, and it wasn't clear how seriously the militants would treat their latest ultimatum for 22 remaining South Korean hostages, including 18 women. A leader of the South Korean group was shot and killed last week.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the militant group had given a list of 23 insurgent prisoners it wants released to government officials, and if they weren't freed by noon Monday, some hostages would be killed.
"It might be a man or a woman ... We may kill one, we may kill two, we may kill one of each (gender), two of each, four of each," Ahmadi told The Associated Press by satellite phone from an unknown location. "Or we may kill all of them at once."