CAIRO, Egypt – Two French aid workers and three Afghan kidnapped by the Taliban militia in Aghanistan appeared in a video broadcast by the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya on Saturday.
The channel said the video had been aired by a Canadian broadcasting company. Earlier Saturday Canada's public broadcaster, CBC, revealed still photographs from the video but did not broadcast the tape.
The gray, grainy footage showed a man talking to the camera, but Al-Arabiya did not broadcast his voice.
A woman, wearing a white headscarf and apparently nervous, was also seen speaking in the footage, but no sound was broadcast her voice.
Another clip showed three blindfolded, bearded men in traditional Afghan robes and pants who were crouching on the ground or leaning against a wall.
A man with an automatic rifle, whose face is not shown, helps one of the blindfolded men get up and talks to him.
It was not immediately clear how Al-Arabiya obtained the footage. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said on its Web site that it would only show still images from the video.
Calls to Al-Arabiya's headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, were not answered late Saturday.
CBC has said the French aid workers — a man and a woman — are seen pleading for their lives on the video.
The Taliban has claimed it abducted a French man and woman and three Afghans from the aid group Terre d'Enfance who disappeared in southwestern Nimroz province last week.
The French government confirmed to CBC that the people shown on the video are the missing aid workers. Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the video was being analyzed and that France "remains fully mobilized ... to obtain the liberation of the members of this group."
CBC has not said how it obtained the footage, but it appears to be the first evidence that the aid workers and their Afghan companions are still alive. However, there was no indication of when the tape was made.
French President Jacques Chirac has asked the Afghan government to help secure their release. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has promised his government will do its best to free the hostages.
The kidnapping came after Afghan authorities released five Taliban prisoners in exchange for an Italian newspaper reporter, who was kidnapped alongside his two Afghan colleagues by the Taliban in southern Helmand province on March 5. The two Afghans — a translator and a driver — were killed.
Afghan lawmakers, analysts and international workers criticized the exchange, arguing it would encourage further abductions.
Karzai has ruled out any future exchanges.