World

Video shows French hostages pleading for their lives

CBC News has obtained a videotape showing two French aid workers, who were kidnapped in southern Afghanistan, saying they fear they may soon be killed.
CBC News has obtained a videotape showing two French aid workers, who were kidnapped in southern Afghanistan, saying they fear they may soon be killed.
This image from a videotape obtained by CBC News shows a female French aid worker being held captive in Afghanistan. ((CBC))

This video may be the first evidence that the aid workers and the three Afghan men they were travelling with are still alive. CBC News has decided to show only still images taken from the video.

The disturbing images show a woman, speaking in a whispered voice, saying she is a French aid worker who was kidnapped by the Taliban 10 days ago.

At one point, she pleads for her life. Another man, who identifies himself as Eric, appears on the video making a similar appeal.

The French government has confirmed that these are the missing aid workers.

The two aid workers belonged to an organization that was trying to promote child welfare in Afghanistan, often working in remote, dangerous parts of the country.

In another still from the video, a male French aid worker is shown. ((CBC))
The video also shows three Afghan men, blindfolded and shackled. They are the translators and driver who were with the French pair when they were taken.

At the end of the video, a glimpse can be seen of the heavily armed Taliban kidnappers.

Kidnapping westerners has emerged as a new weapon for the Taliban. An Italian journalist was released unharmed after Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed to a swap of Taliban prisoners.

But when Karzai refused to do the same for his Afghan translator, the man was beheaded, infuriating many Afghans.

Earlier Friday, wire reports indicated French President Jacques Chirac spoke with Karzai for his help to get his citizens set free.

But Karzai, who was roundly criticized forhelpingto win the release offoreigners, butnotAfghan nationals, has said publicly there will be no more prisoners for hostages deals.