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Afghanistan: Five UK citizens released by Taliban

Afghanistan has released five UK nationals from detention, London has said, adding that it regretted the episode and offering apologies to the authorities in Kabul.

The friends and family of Peter Jouvenal, a journalist and businessman with a long association with Afghanistan, said he was among those released.

London did not provide details about the freed Britons, nor when they were held and on what grounds.

“Pleased the UK has secured the release of 5 British nationals detained in Afghanistan,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a separate statement that the five “had no role in the UK government’s work in Afghanistan and travelled to Afghanistan against the UK Government’s travel advice. This was a mistake.”

On February 12, the government in London said a “number” of British nationals were being detained and that it had raised the issue with the Taliban.

Among them was Jouvenal, who was stopped last December.

Peter Jouvenal
The friends and family of Peter Jouvenal, a journalist and businessman with a long association with Afghanistan, said he was among those released [File: Ahmad Masood AM/LA/Reuters]

In a statement on Monday, his friends and family said Jouvenal had been held for more than six months by the Taliban.

They said they were “grateful to the thousands of people who have supported the campaign to release him.”

They also thanked the FCDO, which “worked tirelessly” for his release.

The armed group had the previous day released two overseas journalists who had been held, including a former BBC correspondent.

The FCDO added in its latest statement: “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.

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