Taliban frees ex-BBC cameraman, four others, after ‘long ordeal’

“These people promised that from now on they will not do anything against the laws of Afghanistan and will act in accordance with the principles and traditions of the Afghan people,” Mujahid said. He did not provide the names of the Britons or specify how many had been released.

The men were detained during the chaotic weeks following the US exit from Afghanistan, when thousands of Afghans were trying to flee the country and the Taliban were struggling to maintain order.

Peter Jouvenal operated a guest house frequented by international visitors to Kabul.Credit:David Loyn.

The British statement did not identify the men, but the family of Peter Jouvenal, a former journalist and businessman who is Muslim and is married to an Afghan, said he was among those released. The statement said he had endured “a long ordeal” while imprisoned for more than six months.

“We are grateful to the thousands of people who have supported the campaign to release him,” the statement said. “We thank the team in the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office who have worked tirelessly to secure his release.”

The statement was released by David Loyn, a longtime friend of Jouvenal’s and a spokesperson for his family. Loyn said he was awaiting confirmation that Jouvenal and the others were out of Afghanistan.

Jouvenal was a longtime resident of Afghanistan who for years operated a guesthouse in Kabul frequented by international journalists, diplomats and aid workers.

In a statement in February, Jouvenal’s family and friends said he had been discussing investments in Afghanistan’s mining industry and conducting family matters. The statement said he had been operating openly and was in frequent contact with senior Taliban officials.

The British government said in February that several British citizens had been detained and that it had raised the issue with the Taliban.

That announcement came a day after the United Nations said Andrew North, a former BBC journalist working in Afghanistan for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, had been released after being held by the Taliban for several days. A Westerner and two Afghans also working for the UN were released along with North.


A Taliban spokesperson said that the four had been detained because they did not have “the correct identification and permits” and that they had been released after their identities were verified.

The United States has said the Taliban continues to hold an American citizen, Mark Frerichs, a US Navy veteran and civil engineer who was working as a contractor in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped by the Haqqani network of the Taliban in January 2020.

“He has done nothing wrong,” President Joe Biden said in a statement in January on the anniversary of Frerichs’s abduction. “And yet for two years the Taliban has held him captive.”

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