Two French journalists freed by the Taliban after 18 months of captivity in Afghanistan are back home.
Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière arrived on a French government plane at a military airport near Paris this morning.
They were taken hostage in December 2009 with their local interpreter, Reza Din, while reporting for the France 3 television channel 60 kilometres east of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced their release late yesterday night.
Their kidnappers had threatened to kill both men unless a number of Taliban prisoners were freed. It is unclear if those demands were met. Paris denies paying a ransom to obtain the reporters’ freedom.
Taponier and Ghesquière’s detention attracted regular protests by French journalists to draw attention to their plight.
Since their abduction, French news bulletins have regularly ended with photos of the pair along with a count of days spent in captivity.
French journalists back in Paris after hostage ordeal