Taliban Releases Kidnapped French Journalists
Osama bin Laden believed to have personally threatened to kill them
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 11:56 AM CDT
A picture shows the portraits of french journalists Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere, abducted and held in Afghanistan, displayed on the facade of Bormes-les-Mimosas's city hall, France.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Taliban militants today released a pair of French journalists they’ve been holding for 547 days. Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphan Taponier were nabbed along with three Afghans back in December 2009, France 24 reports. The interpreter has also been released, but there’s no word on the fixer or driver. The journalists “are in good health and will be on French soil in a few hours,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament, according to the AFP.

A spokesman for Nicolas Sarkozy said the president “thanks President Karzai for his handling of this crisis, as well as all those who took part in freeing the hostages.” Militants had originally accused Ghesquière and Taponier of being spies. In one audiotape, a voice believed to belong to Osama bin Laden threatened to kill the men, saying their release “depends on the withdrawal of your soldiers from our countries,” according to CNN.