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Abducted French journalists believed to be in good health

Two French journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan are believed to be alive and in good health, a source involved in efforts to free them said on Friday. The fates of three Afghan assistants abducted with the journalists remain unknown.

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AFP - Two French journalists kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan this week are thought to be alive and in good health, a source involved in efforts to free them said Friday.

But the condition of three Afghan assistants abducted with the journalists from France's public television broadcaster on Wednesday was unclear, the source told AFP from Kabul.

"The two French journalists appear to be alive, in good health and being well treated," said the source.

Suspected Taliban militants snatched the journalists in the war-torn country around 60 kilometres (38 miles) from the Afghan capital, according to a French journalist working with them.

The kidnappers were yet to issue any claim of responsibility late Friday more than 30 hours after the journalists disappeared.

Criminal groups and Taliban insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul, sparking a nine-year insurgency.

The journalists, accompanied by their Afghan translator and the translator's brother and cousin, were kidnapped on the road between Surobi and Tagab, their French colleague told AFP.

She blamed the kidnapping on the Taliban, saying they had laid an ambush on the road for the group in Kapisa province.

A spokesman for local authorities in the province confirmed the kidnapping and said French soldiers and Afghan security forces had launched a hunt.

The journalists' employer, public broadcaster France Televisions, did not formally confirm their abduction, saying simply there had been no news from them for 48 hours.

On assignment for channel France 3, the team arrived Wednesday morning in the town of Surobi to meet a contact who agreed for them to continue on the road to Tagab.

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