French minister heads to Kabul for update on hostages

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France's defence minister and the head of the its public broadcaster will arrive in Afghanistan on Tuesday for an update on two French journalists held hostage by the Taliban militia, officials said.

Defence Minister Herve Morin and France Televisions chief Patrick de Carolis will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their trip to enquire about the fate of the two reporters, defence ministry officials said.

Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, a reporter and cameraman for the France 3 network, were kidnapped last December with their Afghan translator, an editorial fixer and a driver on a road in eastern Afghanistan.

Their channel released their names in April, after the Taliban militia released a video of the journalists that contained a new death threat.

Afghna criminal groups and Islamist rebels 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.

© 2010 AFP

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