Taliban hostage deadline 'after French government formed'

6th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 6, 2007 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban said it would decide on the fate of a French man and three Afghans after a new French government is formed, following presidential elections under way Sunday.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 6, 2007 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban said it would decide on the fate of a French man and three Afghans after a new French government is formed, following presidential elections under way Sunday.

Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the group, said Saturday the decision would be made once the result of the election, which closes at 1800 GMT, is known.

But on Sunday he told AFP: "The deadline has been extended until the end of the election and formation of the new government. We'll decide after that."

He could not give a time frame.

France's presidential election sets in motion a series of events that will result in the appointment of a new government due June 17.

A Dari-language statement posted on the Taliban website late Saturday said the deadline was now "until after the formation of the new government."

However, the English-language statement on the same site says the movement "extended the deadline to until the end of the French elections."

Terre d'Enfance (A World For Our Children) aid worker Eric Damfreville and three Afghan co-workers were captured in southwestern Afghanistan on April 3.

A French woman who was abducted with them, Celine Cordelier, was released last Saturday when the Taliban extended by a week the deadline for its demands to be met saying it was aware France was "busy" with the election.

Ahmadi told AFP Sunday that the deadline had been pushed back because "the French government insisted."

In Paris, the foreign ministry refused to comment.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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