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Kidnappers seek release

| Monday, Nov. 8, 2004

KABUL -- Taliban-linked militants holding three kidnapped U.N. workers demanded Sunday the release of 26 prisoners, some possibly in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, in return for sparing the hostages' lives.

The group also said it might ease its other demands to end a crisis that has stirred fear that Afghan insurgents are learning from their Iraqi counterparts.

Ishaq Manzoor, one of several men claiming to speak for the kidnappers, told The Associated Press that a list of the 26 was handed to Afghan officials during talks at a secret location yesterday afternoon.

A government delegation asked for two days to look for the prisoners and find out whether they are in Afghanistan or outside, and, if they are in Afghanistan, where they are being held, Manzoor said in a telephone call.

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