Taliban extends deadline for 23 South Koreans

A purported Taliban spokesman said Sunday that the hard-line militia has extended its deadline for the lives of 23 South Korean hostages until Monday evening to give negotiators more time. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said the militants were giving the Afghan and South Korean governments until 7 p.m. (1430 GMT) Monday to respond to their demand that 23 Taliban prisoners be freed in exchange for the Koreans' lives. A police chief in Ghazni province said Afghan officials and elders had met with the kidnappers on Sunday to resolve the crisis. US and Afghan troops also moved into the region in case military leaders call for a rescue operation.