Bin Laden links fate of French hostages to Afghan pullout
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden said the release of two French hostages in Afghanistan depends on a French pullout and warned Paris of a "high price" for its policies, in an audiotape broadcast on Friday.
"We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country," the speaker on the tape broadcast on Al-Jazeera television warned.
Cameraman Stephane Taponier and reporter Herve Ghesquiere, who work for France 3 public television, were seized along with three Afghan colleagues in December 2009 in an area northeast of Kabul.
Bin Laden, addressing the French people, said: "The refusal of your president to withdraw from Afghanistan is the result of his obedience of America and this refusal is a green light to kill your prisoners ...
"But we will not do this at a timing that suits him," he said, adding the warning that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stand would "cost him and you a high price on different fronts, inside and outside France."
© 2011 AFP