The Taliban demanded on Monday that the French government push the U.S. and Afghan governments to release detainees in exchange for two French journalists kidnapped in December in Afghanistan.

In a statement sent by e-mail to news organizations, the Taliban said they submitted a list of “most ordinary detainees” - meaning not senior figures - to the French government and if it doesn’t respond quickly the lives of the two hostages would be in danger.

“If those involved in this issue do not show swiftness and urgency, the life of the French will face danger,” the English language statement said.

It added that the French government should put pressure on the U.S. and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai to meet the Taliban demands. Detainees in Afghanistan are held either by the Afghan government or the Americans.

A similar demand was made in a video posted late Sunday on a militant Web site, according to the SITE Intelligence Group that monitors extremist communications.

The pair disappeared on December 30 along with two or three Afghan employees while travelling in Kapisa province northeast of Kabul, where the French are fighting the insurgents.

The French government in the past has said it is aware of the kidnappings and is cooperating with NATO forces to obtain the release but has stated little publicly about the abductions.

The French government has not identified the journalists beyond giving their first names as Stephane and Herve.

Keywords: Talban threat

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