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Three Italians Among Detained Over Alleged Plot Against Helmand Governor

Governor of Helmand Province Gulab Mangal
Three workers for an Italian-based medical charity organization have been detained in Afghanistan over what officials say is an alleged plot to assassinate the governor of Kandahar Province.

A provincial government spokesman said the three, along with six Afghans, were detained after suicide bomb vests, hand grenades, pistols, and explosives were discovered in a hospital storeroom in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand.

The Helmand governor, Gulab Mangal, said he believed he was the intended target of the group, and that the operation was funded by the Afghan Taliban
based in Pakistan.

In a statement, the Milan-based charity organization, called Emergency, denied involvement in any plot, and said it was confident its staffers would be exonerated.

The group said it had not been allowed telephone contact with the three Italian suspects, and that the Afghan government and international forces had not explained why they were being held.

compiled from agency reports