[xtypo_dropcap]I[/xtypo_dropcap]n an audio recording on Friday, Osama bin Laden said that France should leave Afghanistan. Otherwise French hostages held captive in Niger will not survive, according to tapes first broadcast by Al-Jazeera television.
The voice on the tape was confirmed as belonging to Bin Laden by several media agencies including AFP, Reuters, and The Associated Press. The audio recording was first broadcast on Al-Jazeera.
"President (Nicolas) Sarkozy's refusal to remove his forces from Afghanistan is nothing but a green light for killing the French hostages," Bin Laden said in the Al-Jazeera broadcast.
"We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country."
This is the second tape that the al Qaeda leader has released regarding the French hostage situation.
French authorities said that they would not cede to bin Laden’s threats, AFP reported.
"We are determined to pursue our action in favor of the Afghan people with our allies," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, according to AFP.
Last September, seven people including five French nationals, were kidnapped in Niger. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
France has 3,750 troops in Afghanistan, according to CNN.