Frenchmen held by Taliban still in Afghanistan: FM

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Two French journalists held hostage by the Taliban militia are still in Afghanistan, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday.

He told TV5 television, Radio France Internationale and Le Monde newspaper France "does not have more precise information than in the past, namely that (the two journalists for public France 3 television) are believed to be in Afghanistan".

Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier were kidnapped with their Afghan translator, an editorial fixer and a driver on a road in eastern Afghanistan on December 30. A first video was released in mid-February.

"They're often taken from one house to another, we don't exactly know where, but in any case they're high up in the mountains towards Pakistan," said Kouchner.

France was "trying hard to get them out of there as soon as possible", he said.

Kouchner said he also had an idea where a French agent, kidnapped in July last year in Somalia, was being held.

The hostage, security advisor Denis Allex, has been held in Somalia since July 14 but Kouchner would not give details.

Allex was one of two agents who were captured by Islamists in Mogadishu. His colleague escaped in August.

Kouchner said France was also doing its best to free a 78-year-old Frenchman who was kidnapped in Niger in April and was being held in Mali.

© 2010 AFP

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