Two French journalists who were kidnapped in Afghanistan eighteen months ago have been freed, according to a statement from the Elysee palace in Paris.
Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphan Taponier, who were abducted by the Taliban in December 2009, are scheduled to arrive in France later on Wednesday. Another person, interpreter Reza Din, has also been released.
In a statement, French president Nicholas Sarkozy said he was “delighted at the liberation of our two compatriots.”
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament that Ghesquiere and Taponier, are in good health and would be back in France in a matter of hours.
Ghesquière and Taponier, along with an Afghan translator, drover and assistant and driver were taken prisoner when they arrived at the village of Umar Khel, between Sarobi and Tagab, in the northeastern part of Afghanistan.
It is unclear what became of the other kidnap victims.
Taponier, 46, is a cameraman who has covered the war in Iraq as well as conflicts in Africa. He had been a frequent traveler to Afghanistan since 2000.
Ghesquière, 47, writes for the French newsmagazine Exhibits.
Ghesquière and Taponier’s 18 months of captivity was the longest such period of French journalist since the civil war in Lebanon.