Aid workers arrested

Three Italian aid workers in Afghanistan have been accused of plotting to kill the governor of Helmand province.
The Milan-based “Emergency” organisation said that the arrest of its workers on Saturday in a hospital in Lashkar-Gah was an attempt by the Afghan government and Nato forces to silence a “troublesome witness” to the suffering of civilians in the country.
“This is obviously a set-up because they want us to leave Afghanistan,” said Emergency chief Gino Strada (pictured) in a press conference on Sunday.
He accused the government of President Hamid Karzai of effectively “kidnapping” the charity’s employees – a doctor, a nurse and a logistics worker – with the backing of Nato forces fighting the Taliban in the province.
A spokesman for the Nato-led international force said on Saturday no Nato troops were involved in the arrest, but Mr Strada claimed video footage of the arrest showed Nato soldiers were at the hospital. Speaking on Italian talk show Che Tempo Che Fa he expressed his outrage at NATO forces entering the hospital without authorisation and further reiterated that the organisation has no political bias and is there to help the injured and suffering whichever side they come from.
The Italian government however has not shown full backing to Strada and his organisation. The defence minister Ignazio La Russa said that he must be careful when accusing the Afghan government and NATO of plotting against them.
Latest news bulletins say that the three Italians have “confessed”.

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