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Taliban Frees Five U.K. Citizens Held In Afghanistan Since February


British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss

The Taliban has freed five British nationals held in Afghanistan for six months, the British government said on June 20.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced the news on Twitter, saying the government had "secured the release of five British nationals" held in the country.

A separate statement by her office said the five "had no role in the U.K. government's work in Afghanistanā€ and had traveled to the country against the U.K. government's travel advice.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) added: "On behalf of the families of the British nationals, we express their apologies for any breach of Afghan culture, customs, or laws, and offer their assurance of future good conduct. The U.K. government regrets this episode."

No further details were provided about the Britons, who had been held since February.

One of those released is Peter Jouvenal, a veteran television cameraman, according to his friends and former colleagues.

In Kabul, z spokesman for the Taliban-led government, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Twitter that the Britons were "carrying out activities against the country's laws and the traditions of the people of Afghanistan."

Mujahid said there had been meetings between the Taliban-led government and Britain prior to their release on June 19, without confirming the names of those released.

"They promised to abide by the laws of Afghanistan, its traditions and culture of the people, and not to violate them again,ā€ he said.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Azadi and AFP
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