Bin Laden: France to Pay 'High Price' for Afghan Policy
By Lauren Frayer Contributor

A voice purported to be that of Osama bin Laden says al-Qaida will kill two French journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan unless France withdraws its troops from that country.

In an audiotape broadcast today on Al-Jazeera, the militant chief says the French government and President Nicolas Sarkozy would pay a "high price on different fronts, inside and outside" France.

"The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country," bin Laden said. "The refusal of your president to withdraw from Afghanistan is the result of his obedience to America, and this refusal is a green light to kill your prisoners."

Two French journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan will be killed by al-Qaida unless France withdraws its troops, according to an audiotape attributed to Osama bin Laden, above, by Al-Jazeera.

The voice on the tape couldn't be independently verified, but Al-Jazeera said it was that of bin Laden. Al-Qaida has passed messages through the Qatar-based TV network before.

In December 2009, two journalists working for France 3 public television, cameraman Stephane Taponier and reporter Herve Ghesquiere, were kidnapped along with three Afghan colleagues northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan. Their whereabouts have been unknown since then.

Last month, France 3 said a video of the two men in captivity, believed to have been recorded in November 2010, was provided to French authorities but not made public. The French foreign ministry showed the video to Taponier's parents in Paris, who said the men appealed to their government for help, Agence France-Press reported. They appeared thin but in good shape.

Militant groups with links to al-Qaida are believed to be holding at least seven French hostages, including five in the Sahara Desert.

Source: AP
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