Truss welcomes release of Britons held by Taliban

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (PA) (PA Wire)
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (PA) (PA Wire)

Five British nationals who were being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan have been released from detention.

The Foreign Office issued an apology on behalf of the families of the five for “any breach of Afghan culture, customs and laws” and said it was a “mistake” for them to have gone to the country against official travel advice.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she is pleased the five have been released and would soon be reunited with their families.

Details of those released were not confirmed by the Foreign Office, but TV cameraman and businessman Peter Jouvenal was understood to be among them.

His friend and former colleague David Loyn said: “Peter Jouvenal has been released from captivity in Afghanistan after more than six months.

“His family have requested privacy at this time, and have expressed gratitude to the Foreign Office who have worked tirelessly to secure the release.”

The Frontline Club, the social club which champions freelance journalists and had campaigned for Mr Jouvenal’s release, said he was among the five.

Mr Jouvenal, a British/German dual national, had been held since early December and was visiting the country for business and family reasons, his friends said.

“We welcome and appreciate the release by the current administration of Afghanistan of five British nationals who were detained in Afghanistan,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.

“These British nationals 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 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.”

Ms Truss said: “Pleased the UK has secured the release of five British nationals detained in Afghanistan.

“They will soon be reunited with their families. I am grateful for the hard work of British diplomats to secure this outcome.”

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