A German who has been held hostage in Afghanistan for 11 days is alive and negotiations for his release are progressing, according to international media. A second hostage's autopsy showed he died of gunshot wounds.
Little on the fate of the German hostage in Afghanistan has been made public
Negotiations for the German engineer's release were making some progress, an anonymous source told the German DPA news agency.
It remained unclear if the 62-year-old was being held by members of the Taliban or a criminal group.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said a Berlin crisis team remained in close contact with the Afghan government and is doing everything possible to secure the man's safe release.
The kidnappers have allegedly demanded the release of 10 prisoners being held in Afghan jails in return for the German's release.
Complete autopsy results in August
The government said it is doing everything possible for the German's safe release
An autopsy performed on the body of the hostage's colleague, which was found last week and returned to Germany, showed the man had died of gunshot wounds. German officials were previously uncertain whether the 44-year old was executed or if his captors shot his body after his death.
The mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag said the man had been shot in the knees and back. It quoted German security sources after an autopsy carried out in Cologne on Thursday.
The German Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report and staff at the forensic institution where the autopsy was carried out said further tests were being made before a final report was released, probably in the first week in August. The dead man was married and had a school-aged son.
South Korean envoy in Afghanistan
South Koreans have called for the hostages' to be let free
Negotiations for the release of 22 South Korean hostages were reported to have stopped on Sunday, according Reuters news service.
While the Afghan authorities demanded the release of 16 women among the hostages, the militants said releasing eight prisoners from Afghan jails would be the only way to end the crisis, Reuters reported.
As a special South Korean envoy met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, it remained unclear if negotiations for the South Koreans' release had actually stopped or if the alleged end of talks was propaganda on the part of the hostage takers.
In his first public statement since the hostage crisis began, Karzai said the kidnapping of "foreign guests" was un-Islamic.
"This will have a shameful effect on the dignity of the Afghan people," the president said.
Pope Benedict XVI also called for the hostages, who were kidnapped July 19, to be released.
"It's a grave violation of human dignity," he said during his Sunday prayers. "I issue my appeal so that the perpetrators of such criminal acts desist from the evil they have carried out and give back their victims unharmed."