Tags: taliban | execute | GI

Taliban Demand U.S. Stop Attacks, or Soldier Will Be Executed

Thursday, 16 Jul 2009 10:00 AM

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KABUL -- The Taliban threatened Thursday to kill a captured American soldier unless the U.S. military stops operations in two districts of southeastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban said last week they were holding the soldier, who the U.S. military earlier described as possibly being in enemy hands.

Abdullah Jalali, a spokesman for Taliban commander Mawlavi Sangin, told The Associated Press in a phone interview the soldier was healthy.

He said the soldier would be killed unless the U.S. stops airstrikes in Ghazni province's Giro district and Paktika province's Khoshamand district. Still, Jalali said the final decision about the soldier's fate will be made by Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Jalali said Giro has been heavily bombed by international troops but did not otherwise explain why they chose those areas.

The U.S. military said the soldier was noticed missing during a routine check of the unit on June 30 and he was "believed captured." The Taliban confirmed on its Web site on July 6 that it was holding the soldier.

"Five days ago, a drunken American soldier who had come out of his garrison named Malakh, was captured by mujahedeen... He is still with mujahedeen," said the report. The short Web message did not elaborate on his whereabouts or their plans for him, nor did it provide any proof.

The U.S. military earlier said it intercepted communications in which insurgents talked about holding an American.

His body armor and weapon were found on the base, and U.S. defense sources said the soldier "just walked off" post with three Afghans after work. They said they had no explanation for why he left the base.

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