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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: British television cameraman Peter Jouvenal (C) smiles as he is reunited with his wife (R) and sister-in-law (L) in Kabul, 26 November 2004, after being released from questioning by Afghan authorities. Jouvenal, a BBC freelance camerman and owner of the Gandamack Hotel in the Afghan capital, was arrested in for negotiating with the kidnappers of three UN hostages and helping to win their release. The three hostages were released on 23 November 2004, after almost a month in captivity. AFP PHOTO/FARZANA Wahidy (Photo credit should read FARZANA WAHIDY/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban free 5 Britons caught after US pullout

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban have released five British citizens from their custody months after they had been caught up in a crackdown on foreigners and Afghan civil society activists by the Taliban last August, British authorities announced on Monday.

After the release, the United Kingdom government issued a statement of regret to the five men, who according to The New York Times, had been “caught up in a crackdown on foreigners and Afghan civil society activists by the Taliban, after they seized power in August.”

That explanation differs somewhat from a Taliban spokesman saying the five British men violated the “country’s laws and the traditions of the Afghan people.”

Last summer, the Taliban took over Afghanistan after President Joe Biden ordered a full-scale withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Near East country.

Coinciding with that turbulent time, the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office said the detained British men — who had no role with the U.K. government or military — were in Afghanistan against travel advice.

“This was a mistake,” the BFCDO statement read. “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 U.K. Government regrets this episode.”

The five Britons were released after several meetings between British and Taliban officials, according to a Taliban statement.

“They pledged to abide by the laws of Afghanistan, the traditions and culture of the people and not to violate them again,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. “Afghanistan is now safe for all, anyone can come to Afghanistan with confidence for charity and tourism,” added Mujahid.

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