New video of French hostages in Afghanistan released

A new video of two French journalists kidnapped almost a year ago in Afghanistan has been sent to France and authenticated, media and official sources said Monday.

The journalists, Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier work for channel 3 of French National Television and were abducted north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on December 29 last year, where they were shooting a documentary.

No news of the two men has been received since a video sent to the TV channel in April.

France Television channel announced the arrival of the latest video and the French Foreign Ministry said that it was authentic and it had also been sent to the families of the two men. The hostages appear in good health, officials from the channel said.

The Foreign Ministry said that it appears the video dates from last month, but gave no further details.

In recent weeks, French officials, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, have said they were optimistic that the men would be freed and military officials said this could even take place before Christmas.

France has 3,700 troops fighting with the international force and NATO in Afghanistan and has lost 52 men there since 2001.

No information on ransom demands has been made public here but the Foreign Ministry indicated that efforts were being stepped up to try to speed up the release of the two men, who were kidnapped with three Afghan “fixers.”

KUNA

KUNA is the Kuwait News Agency

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