Saturday, April 17, 2010

Afghanistan: Three Italian aid-workers suspected in governor assassination plot (Names added)

Update: The three are Matteo dell'Aira, Marco Garatti and Matteo Pagani. I originally assumed that three suspects are Muslim, but that doesn't seem to be the case. (IT)


Afghan authorities have arrested three Italian workers from a medical charity as part of a plot to assassinate a provincial governor in southern Afghanistan, the governor said on Saturday.

The Milan-based charity, Emergency, confirmed that the workers had been detained but said it did not know why.

Gulab Mangal, governor of Helmand province, told a news conference the three Italians working at a hospital run by the charity had been arrested along with six Afghans.

The hospital is located in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand, Afghanistan's most violent province, where U.S. and British forces launched a massive assault in February against Taliban fighters.

"Explosive suicide vests, hand grenades and weapons were brought to the Emergency hospital with the help of the foreign staff and their colleagues to carry out attacks in Lashkar Gah. The aim was to assassinate the governor," Mangal said, referring to himself.

"According to their plan, an Emergency foreign staff member received $500,000 as an advance for killing me."

Mangal's spokesman Dawood Ahmadi said two pistols, nine grenades and two explosive suicide vests had been found at the hospital.

Alessandro Bertani, vice president of the aid group, told Reuters a doctor, a nurse and a logistics worker had been taken by NATO and Afghan soldiers from the hospital in southern Afghanistan where they working.

He said the allegations against Emergency's staff were "grotesque." "We do not know the reason why they were arrested," Bertani said.


Source: Reuters (English), h/t Jawa Report

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