Taliban, South Korean officials meet in person

Taliban, South Korean officials meet in person for negotiations over hostages? Two top Taliban leaders and four South Korean officials met face-to-face in the first negotiations over the fate of 21 members of a church group held hostage for three weeks, Afghan officials said. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said two members of the top militant council - Mullah Bashir and Mullah Nasorullah - traveled to the central Afghan city of Ghazni, near where the South Koreans were kidnapped on July 19. He said the government in Kabul gave the Taliban a written guarantee that the two officials would be safe. The meeting began Friday evening at the office of the Afghan Red Cross in Ghazni, said Marajudin Pathan, the local governor. An Afghan official who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive information said the two Taliban leaders, four Korean officials and four International Committee of the Red Cross officials participated. "We have given them the freedom of secrecy to talk with each other," Pathan said, confirming that no Afghan officials were taking part in the talks.