Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda
Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. — Photo by AP

DUBAI: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden said the release of two French hostages in Afghanistan depends on a French pullout and warned Paris of a “high price” for its policies, in an audiotape broadcast on Friday.

“We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country,” the speaker on the tape broadcast on al Jazeera television warned.

Cameraman Stephane Taponier and reporter Herve Ghesquiere, who work for France 3 public television, were seized along with three Afghan colleagues in December 2009 in an area northeast of Kabul.

Bin Laden, addressing the French people, said: “The refusal of your president to withdraw from Afghanistan is the result of his obedience of America and this refusal is a green light to kill your prisoners...but we will not do this at a timing that suits him.”

Bin Laden warned that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stand would “cost him” and the people of France “a high price on different fronts, inside and outside France”.

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