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article imageNew Bin Laden tape calls for French withdrawal in Afghanistan

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 21, 2011 in Politics
In a new audio message, Osama Bin Laden is calling on France to withdraw troops in Afghanistan in exchange for release of French hostages held by al-Qaeda and a failure to do so is “a green light” for the hostages’ murders.
The audio message, broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Friday, condemns French involvement in the Afghan occupation, stating in part: “The exit of your hostages out of the hands of our brothers depends on the exit of your troops from Afghanistan.”
According to Al-Jazeera, this is the second audio tape that Bin Laden has released directed at the French government.
Huffington Post reports at least seven French hostages are currently being held by al-Qaeda groups, five in the Sahara Desert and two in Afghanistan. France has about 3,850 troops stationed in Afghanistan.
“President Nicolas Sarkozy's refusal to remove his forces from Afghanistan is nothing but a green light for killing the French hostages,” Bin Laden says in the audio, according to Al-Jazeera.
Bin Laden, believed to be hiding in the mountainous Af-Pak region, links French troops in Afghanistan with the kidnappings last September in Niger of the five French nationals. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a north African wing of the organization, has claimed responsibility.
Al-Jazeera states AQIM has taken credit for the deaths of two Frenchmen last week in Niger, following a failed rescue operation.
Speaking on behalf of the French government, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the new Bin Laden audio is still being confirmed. “We are determined to continue our efforts on behalf of the Afghan people, with our allies,” Valero stated, according to Huffington Post.
More about Osama bin Laden, Tape, Hostage, France
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