French ex-hostage suggests ransom paid to Taliban

AP News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2011 7:41 AM
French ex-hostage suggests ransom paid to Taliban

A French television journalist held hostage for 18 months by the Taliban is suggesting he and his colleagues were released in exchange for ransom and the release of imprisoned insurgents.

Herve Ghesquiere says in an interview with BBC that he believes they were released "for money and for at least two prisoners released."

The French government says it does not pay ransoms, but has not elaborated on why or how the journalists were freed Wednesday.

Ghesquiere said Friday they were not released just in exchange "for chocolates."

Ghesquiere and colleague Stephane Taponier, who work for France-3 television, and three Afghans were kidnapped in December 2009 while reporting in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said Thursday the journalists were released in exchange for insurgents held as prisoners.