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French hostages held in Afghanistan ‘alive and in good health’

A senior advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed Sunday that kidnapped journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier are still alive and reportedly in good health. Ghesquière and Taponier have been held since December 29, 2009.



President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief of staff, Claude Gueant, confirmed Sunday that the government had received new information on the status of the two French journalists currently being held captive in Afghanistan. In an interview with French radio station Europe1, Gueant said Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier are reportedly still alive and in good health.
Ghesquière and Taponier were kidnapped in Kapisa province in northern Afghanistan. This rugged, isolated mountainous region is reportedly under the control of forces loyal to warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.  
“It’s the first good news but we still don’t know where they’re being detained and under what conditions,” said Reporters without Borders Secretary General, Jean-Francois Julliard. “We can only imagine that after 250 days [in captivity], it must be getting very hard,” he added.
The journalists, who both work for the national TV channel France3, have been held hostage for over 9 months. They have now been detained longer than any French journalist since the Lebanese war in the mid 1980s.
The two French journalists were last publicly seen in a video released on a jihadist site on April 8th of this year. Back then, the pair appeared to be in good health and called for the release of prisoners in Afghan detention centres.



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