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Talks Under Way With Afghan Militants Holding 3 UN Hostages  - 2004-11-06

Reports from Afghanistan say militants who have threatened to kill three foreign hostages have begun talks with officials from the Kabul government and the United Nations.

One account from Reuters indicates the kidnappers may postpone their previous threat, which said the hostages would be killed late Saturday, unless all Taleban prisoners in U.S. custody are released.

The hostages -- two women from Northern Ireland and Kosovo, and a man from the Philippines -- all had been working for the United Nations on Afghanistan's recent presidential election. One of the three is said to have fallen seriously ill since they were abducted in Kabul late last month.

The kidnappers, members of a splinter Taleban group, Jaish-al Muslimeen, also have said they want all foreign troops and U.N. personnel to leave Afghanistan.