Five Britons released after arrest by Taliban

By Joseph Lee
BBC News

  • Published
Peter Jouvenal,Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Peter Jouvenal had previously been detained by Afghan authorities in 2004, when he ran a hostel in Kabul

Five Britons who had been detained in Afghanistan by the Taliban have been released, the Foreign Office has said.

Friends and family said former BBC cameraman Peter Jouvenal was among them, although the UK did not confirm any names.

Mr Jouvenal was among a number of men arrested by the Taliban last year and held on unspecified charges.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the five people released would "soon be reunited with their families".

In a statement, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the British nationals detained by the Taliban had no role in the UK government's work in Afghanistan.

A spokesman said the five had travelled to Afghanistan against the UK government's travel advice, adding: "This was a mistake."

He said: "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 UK government regrets this episode."

Mr Jouvenal - who also ran a hostel in Kabul for a time as well as working for the BBC in Afghanistan - was held for more than six months, his friends and family said in a statement.

"We are grateful to the thousands of people who have supported the campaign to release him," they said.

They also thanked the FCDO staff who "worked tirelessly" for his release and requested privacy for Mr Jouvenal to reconnect with his wife and family and recover from his "long ordeal".

On Sunday, a diplomat at the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha issued a statement seeking to reassure the Afghan authorities that the UK "does not support anyone, including Afghan nationals, seeking to achieve political change through violence", and promising that it would "not allow UK soil to be used to plan or prepare" violence.