World

French hostages given Saturday deadline

Two French aid workers believed kidnapped by the Taliban could be killed unless a Saturday deadline to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan is met, said a spokesperson for the group.

Two French aid workers believed kidnapped by the Taliban could be killed unless a Saturday deadline to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan is met, a spokesperson for the group says.

Speaking to French news agencies on Friday, arepresentative of the Islamist extremist group said the woman and man, who went missing on April 3, would likely be killed unless France pulls its roughly 1,000 troops from the Kabul area by Saturday, local time.
This image from a videotape obtained by CBC News shows a female French aid worker being held captive in Afghanistan. ((CBC))

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told French radio stations Friday that the government is working to help the hostages, but he gave no further details. He also said France had no plans toremain in Afghanistan as part of a long-term occupation.

On April 20, the Taliban gave France one week to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the release of the hostages, who work with the French non-governmental organization Terre d'enfance (A World for Our Children).

The Taliban, whose kidnapping claims have not been confirmed,appear to have extended the deadline by a day.

The workers, along with two Afghan translators and an Afghan driver,disappeared while working in southwestern Afghanistan.

In another still from the video, a male French aid worker is shown. ((CBC))

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ruled out swapping prisoners for hostages.

CBC News obtained a videotape of the workers, showing they were still alive as of April 14. A posting on a Taliban website Thursday said they were in good health.

On the tape, a woman and man identify themselves as the missing aid workers and plead for their lives. The French government confirmed their identities.

The video also showed the three Afghan men they were travelling with.

The end of the video showed a brief glimpse of the heavily armed kidnappers.

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