KABUL, Afghanistan, April 22 (UPI) -- The Taliban has demanded that France withdraw its troops from Afghanistan as a condition for releasing five people taken hostage.
The demands also call for the Afghan government to release all Taliban prisoners, The New York Times reported Sunday.
The Taliban claims it is holding two French aid workers and three Afghan colleagues kidnapped April 3 in southwestern Afghanistan.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, contacted the Times's bureau in Kabul Saturday to announce the demands.
Last month, the Afghan government released five Taliban commanders in exchange for an Italian journalist. Since then, President Hamid Karzai has said he no longer will trade prisoners for hostages but has promised the French government his utmost cooperation.