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Taleban Says Italian Journalist, Afghan Translator Handed Over to 3rd Party


A purported spokesman for Taleban militants in Afghanistan says the group has handed over a kidnapped Italian journalist to tribal elders, but Afghan and Italian officials say they cannot confirm the report.

The spokesman said Sunday that Daniele Mastrogiacomo and his Afghan translator were transferred to tribal elders in Helmand province after two Taleban members were freed by Afghan authorities. A third Taleban member the group wanted released is still in custody.

Meanwhile, Afghan police say Taleban fighters cut off the noses and ears of at least three Afghan truck drivers who were transporting supplies for U.S.-led troops.

Police say insurgents attacked the drivers in the Nuristan province on Saturday and destroyed their trucks.

An Afghan mine-clearing expert was shot and wounded by suspected Taleban militants north of Kabul in another incident on Saturday.

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A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said the Afghan man, who works for the United Nations, was shot in an ambush as his vehicle drove near a convoy of Afghan and foreign troops.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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