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Reeling from the discovery of two murdered hostages who were taken captive with their Christian aid group 13 days ago, South Korea is pleading with the governments of the United States and Afghanistan to cooperate with the Taliban.

Another in a series of deadlines to meet Taliban demands passed Wednesday morning. without any new information on the status of the remaining 21 South Korean aid workers.

The Taliban has threatened to kill the remaining 18 women and 3 men from Seoul's Saemmul Presbyterian Church if Afghanistan does not release 24 Taliban prisoners. The next victim "might be a man or a woman. It might be one. It might be two, four. It might be all of them," Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who says he is a Taliban spokesman, told the Associated Press.

On July 25, the Taliban killed 42-year-old pastor Bae Hyun-kyu. Five days later, they killed another man, Shim Sung-min, 29. The Taliban says the two men were killed as a result of the "insincere attitude" of negotiators from Afghanistan and South Korea, reported The Korea Times.

Since the bodies were found, Afghanistan—already concerned about its international image—is caught between the increasingly urgent requests of South Korean officials and relatives of the hostages and U.S. pressure not to concede to terrorist demands.

"The government is well aware of how the international community deals with these kinds of abduction cases, but it also believes that it would be worthwhile to use flexibility in the cause of saving the precious lives of those still in captivity, and is appealing to the international community to do so," Cheon Ho-seon, a spokesman for South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, told TheNew York Times.

South Korean officials have been in contact with the Taliban, ...

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