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Afghan Officials Hopeful That Hostage Will Be Freed Soon

9 June 2005 -- Afghan officials have said they are in regular contact with the kidnappers of a female Italian aid worker and that they were hopeful she would be freed soon.

Clementina Cantoni was kidnapped by gunmen in Kabul on 16 May.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said his government hoped Cantoni would soon be released.

Mashal said in a statement that officials were in regular contact with those holding Cantoni, but Mashal did not reveal any details except to say he and other officials were happy that Cantoni remained healthy.