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France Investigating Video of Hostages in Afghanistan

French authorities say they are analyzing a videotape that shows two French aid workers kidnapped by the Taleban more than a week ago in southwestern Afghanistan.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy Saturday confirmed that two French nationals appear on the tape along with three Afghan colleagues. The minister says his country is determined to save the members of the group.

The tape shows the two aid workers, a young woman and a man who says his name is Eric, pleading for their lives.

Three blindfolded and shackled Afghan men believed to be colleagues of the French hostages also appear in the video.

The French workers, who belong to a children's aid group (Terre d'Enfance), went missing in Nimroz province on April 3. Taleban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

On Friday, French President Jacques Chirac asked the Afghan government to help free the French hostages. Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the authorities are doing their utmost to secure their release.

Mr. Karzai has ruled out future hostage deals after his government freed Taleban prisoners last month to win the release of an Italian journalist. An Afghan interpreter kidnapped with the Italian journalist was beheaded Sunday.

Taleban militants have threatened to kill other hostages, including five Afghans, unless the government releases two Taleban commanders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

 

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