Taliban free two S. Korean female hostages

Two South Korean women hostages kidnapped by Taliban operatives in mid-July were handed over to officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday, the first significant breakthrough in a hostage drama now more than three weeks old. The two women, who broke into tears after seeing the Red Cross officials, got out of a dark gray Toyota Corolla driven by an Afghan elder and into one of two waiting Red Cross SUVs. The women did not say anything to reporters, who had been alerted to the handoff location by a Taliban spokesman. The women, who the Taliban have said are ill, were among 23 South Koreans kidnapped by Taliban fighters on July 19. Two male captives were executed by gunfire in late July.