Development News from Afghanistan

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Italian aid group worker freed in Afghanistan

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Sat Jun 16, 7:42 AM ET

ROME (AFP) – An employee of an Italian aid group, arrested three months ago in Afghanistan and accused of involvement in the kidnapping of an Italian journalist, has been released, a spokesman for the group said Saturday.

Rahmatullah Hanefi, the Afghan head of a hospital run by the group, Emergency, in southern Afghanistan, “was freed Saturday morning and is currently at our hospital in Kabul”, spokesman Vauro Senesi said.

He said Hanefi had been cleared of accusations brought by the Afghan secret services against him.

Afghan authorities arrested Hanefi on March 20, the day after his negotiations with the Taliban as an intermediary resulted in the liberation of Daniele Mastrogiacomo, an Italian journalist who had been held hostage for two weeks.

The Afghan rebel group freed Mastrogiacomo in exchange for the release of five Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government. Two Afghans working with the journalist as a translator and as a driver were decapitated by the Taliban.

Afghan officials accused Hanefi of being implicated in the kidnapping of Mastrogiacomo.

In April, Emergency announced it had closed all its medical centres in Afghanistan after the country’s secret service accused it of “supporting terrorists” by brokering the release of the journalist.

The group ran three hospitals and 26 clinics in Afghanistan.

Hanefi’s release opens up the prospect of the group returning to Afghanistan, the spokesman added.

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Written by afghandevnews

June 17, 2007 at 1:42 am

Posted in Security

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