[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Taliban extend hostage deadline
UN issues appeal for Italian journalist's release.
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2007 20:25 GMT
Mastrogiacomo appeared in a
video released last week [AFP]
The Taliban have extended its deadline to kill a kidnapped Italian journalist by three days to Monday to give Rome more time to respond to the group's demands.
 
Mullah Hayatullah Khan, a Taliban spokesman, said: "We are extending the deadline for three days from Friday.

"We will wait for the response in regard to our demands."
Khan said there had been "contacts" for Daniele Mastrogiacomo's release, but did not elaborate.
 
On Friday, the Taliban killed one of the two Afghans seized alongside Mastrogiacomo, saying "he was confirmed to be a spy for foreign military forces".
On Saturday, the UN mission in Kabul appealed to the abductors to "show their humanity" by releasing him and his colleagues.
 
"Mr Mastrogiacomo is a well-known journalist whose sympathies for the people of Afghanistan should be beyond doubt to anyone," a UN spokesman said in a statement.
 
The La Repubblica reporter and his two colleagues were seized in the southern province of Helmand and the Taliban claimed that he had confessed to spying for British troops.
 
Contact made
 
Massimo d'Alema, the Italian foreign minister, asked on Friday for more time to negotiate Mastrogiacomo's release.
 
"The complex affair ... needs time," he said.
 
D'Alema denied that the Italian government was negotiating with the Taliban, but said that contact had taken place via "humanitarian sources".
 
"Even the other side has perceived that an initiative is under way to find a solution," D'Alema said, without naming the Taliban.

"I want the other side to understand that the situation needs a  reasonable time to develop and obtain the desired results."
 
The Taliban had said that the Italian and his Afghani translator would be released if the Kabul government agreed to release three Taliban prisoners.
 
Mastrogiacomo appeared in a video, released on Wednesday, appealing to the Italian government to work for his release.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
An estimated 36 people die each day in embattled town where pro-Russia rebel separatists fight Ukrainian soldiers.
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
join our mailing list