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Taliban threaten to kill second Afghan hostage

Taliban militants threatened to kill a second Afghan hostage unless the government enters negotiations over his release.

world Updated: Apr 09, 2007 17:57 IST

Taliban militants threatened on Monday to kill a second Afghan hostage unless the government enters negotiations over his release, a rebel spokesman has said.

The threat to kill one of a five-member team of Afghan medics snatched in southern Kandahar province on March 27 comes less than 24 hours after the Islamists beheaded an Afghan journalist in neighbouring Helmand province.

Afghan reporter Ajmal Naqshbandi, kidnapped last month with Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, was beheaded yesterday after the government failed to meet Taliban demands to free rebel prisoners.

"We'll kill one of the doctors if the government fails to enter negotiations before April 15," Shohaabuddin Atal, a spokesman for top Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah, said.

He refused to give details of the rebels' demands.

He alleged that the doctor he identified as Khalilullah was a cousin of the governor of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban will decide the fate of the other four medics later, he said.

Nangarhar governor Gul Agha Sherzai is originally from Taliban-dominated Kandahar and was one of several Afghan militia commanders who helped US-led troops to topple the Taliban regime in late 2001.

The Taliban, who are waging an intense insurgency focused on southern and eastern Afghanistan, have used kidnappings as part of their campaign against the Kabul government and international troops.

The militants have been holding two French nationals and three Afghan colleagues since they abducted them in the southwestern province of Nimroz on Tuesday.