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Taliban hostage swap cry

Spin Boldak (Afghanistan), Dec. 20 (Reuters): The ousted Afghan Taliban militia is demanding the release of 50 imprisoned militants in return for two Indian engineers they are holding hostage, a rebel commander said today.

Commander Mullah Rehmatullah said the Taliban, toppled from power in Afghanistan by a US-led war in late 2001, would also make additional demands, but declined to elaborate.

A government spokesman in the southern province of Zabul, where the two engineers were kidnapped earlier this month while working on a major highway reconstruction project, said authorities there had received a letter outlining the demands.

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