Accessibility links

Breaking News

Taliban Releases One of Two French Hostages

(RFE/RL) KABUL, April 28, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Taliban militants say they have released a French woman aid worker who was abducted in southern Afghanistan earlier this month, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported today.

In Paris, France's Foreign Ministry issued a statement confirming that one of two French aid workers taken hostage by the Taliban had been released today. The statement did not identify the freed hostage.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed told Radio Free Afghanistan by telephone that the Taliban would give the French government one more week to negotiate the release of a French male aid worker and three Afghans still being held hostage:

"Because we are merciful towards women, and we ended our investigation about her, she was not involved," Mojahed said. "So today at 11 o'clock we released her. We have given her a letter to carry to the French government. And we have issued a seven-day ultimatum because of the French election [on May 6]. We will decide what to do after the election. We want to see the stance of the French government."

The hostages worked for a small French aid group in Afghanistan and went missing in the southwestern province of Nimroz on April 3.

The Taliban had threatened to kill all of the hostages if the French government failed to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by April 27.

The kidnappers also have demanded that Afghan authorities release some Taliban fighters who have been captured in recent months.

Italy and Afghanistan came under strong criticism recently after they agreed to trade Taliban prisoners in order to secure the release of an abducted Italian journalist.

(with material from agency reports)