Kidnapped French Journalists in Afghanistan Freed After 547 Days
Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphan Taponier were being held hostage by the Taliban
Two journalists who were kidnapped by the Taliban 547 days ago have been released today and are on their way back to France just hours after they were received by French forces in Afghanistan. France 24 reported today that Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphan Taponier, who were kidnapped in the village of Imar Khel northeast of Kabul, had been released along with their interpreter Reza Din. "There was no word yet on the whereabouts of Ghulam and Sattar, their local fixer and driver."
The hostage ordeal was one of France's longest, according to the Associated Press. "The Taliban said the insurgency movement was holding them and made a set of demands — never published — in exchange for the men's freedom." According to Agence France-Presse, "in January Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened France in an audio tape message and said that the journalists' release would depend on France's withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan." France has about 4,000 troops there. It hasn't been made clear, however, why the two men were released.