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Taleban Releases French Hostage Held in Afghanistan


The French Foreign Ministry says the the Taleban in Afghanistan has freed a French aid worker kidnapped last month.

Taleban spokesmen say Eric Damfreville was handed over to tribal elders Friday in southern Kandahar province. They later turned him over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Damfreville worked for Terre d'Enfance, an agency helping children in southern Afghanistan. He was abducted along with a French colleague and three Afghans who work for the same aid organization.

The Taleban says it decided to free the aid worker because French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested France might pull its troops out from Afghanistan.

Late last month, the kidnappers released Damfreville's female colleague, calling it a goodwill gesture. The three Afghans remain in captivity.

The Taleban had demanded that the French government withdraw its troops serving with the NATO mission in Afghanistan before it would release the French aid workers.

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