A purported Taliban spokesman said the hard-line militia on Saturday shot and killed two German hostages because their government didn't submit to a Taliban demand that its troops leave Afghanistan.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the Germans were shot to death. They had been kidnapped on Wednesday, along with five Afghan colleagues, in the southern province of Wardak while working on a dam project.
"The German and Afghan governments didn't meet our condition, they didn't pull out their troops," Ahmadi told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Ahmadi offered to proof for the claim of the killings. He said the Taliban would give further information about the two bodies later.
In Berlin a spokesman for the German government and the Foreign Ministry could not immediately confirm the reports.
Militants on Thursday kidnapped at least 18 South Korean Christians riding on a bus in Ghazni, one province south of Wardak. Ahmadi said previously the Koreans would also be killed today if South Korea didn't withdraw the 200 troops it has here, but he gave no information about their condition.
Ahmadi warned the Afghan government and US and NATO forces not to try to rescue the hostages, or they would be killed. The provincial police chief in Ghazni province said his forces were working "carefully" to not trigger any retaliatory killings.
"The enemy has threatened that there shouldn't be any kind of search operation for the Korean citizens," said Ali Shah Ahmadzai. "We have surrounded the area but are working very carefully.