Journalists held in Afghanistan alive: French TV

15th February 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan in December were in good health, France 3 reported, as it aired a short video of them in captivity.

Paris – A senior executive with France's 3 television station said on Sunday that two journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan in December were in good health, as the channel aired a short extract of a video of them in captivity.

The video, also seen by AFP, showed the two men looking tired and unshaven, and pleading for their release.

"These pictures are already three weeks old," France 3 executive Paul Nahon said after the channel broadcast a few seconds of the video with the faces of the men blurred out.

"But since then we have received other proof that they are alive. We can say this evening that our two colleagues and their three (Afghan) companions are in good health and that they are well treated," he said.

Nahon did not give details of this proof.

He said the faces of the journalists were masked in the broadcast out of respect for the families of the men involved, with discretion important for the process of securing their release as soon as possible.

The French government issued a statement Sunday calling for media organisations to act responsibly in their handling of the video after its existence was widely reported, and it was viewable on some websites.

"Following information relative to the content of a video cassette in which our two compatriots from France 3 appear... the foreign ministry appeals to everyone's sense of responsibility," it said.

"In this type of situation, in consideration of the families of our compatriots and in the interests of their security, discretion is vital," it said.

AFP had also obtained the video but decided not to publicise it because the agency believed it might compromise the chances of the reporters being released.

Nahon said French authorities had made contact with the kidnappers. "Negotiations are still very delicate but things are happening," he said.

The journalists went missing along with three Afghan colleagues on December 30 in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kapisa.

Criminal groups and Taliban insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul, sparking the current insurgency.

AFP / Expatica

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