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NATO Rescues Two Italian Soldiers Held in Afghanistan


Two Italian soldiers have been rescued in western Afghanistan during a military operation that killed up to nine of their abductors.

Officials say NATO-led forces freed the soldiers early Monday in Farah province. Both Italians were wounded during the raid, one seriously. One Afghan citizen also was wounded.

It is not known what happened to the second Afghan national kidnapped with the Italians.

The two Italian soldiers, their Afghan driver and interpreter were abducted Saturday while driving through Herat province, near the border with Iran.

It is unclear who was responsible for the kidnappings.

In other violence, Spanish defense officials say two soldiers from Spain were killed Monday in western Afghanistan when their military convoy was hit by an explosion near the town of Shewan. An Iranian interpreter traveling with the soldiers is believed to have died in the attack and at least two other soldiers were seriously wounded.

In related news, a Dutch general says Taleban militants are getting better and more precise in their attacks designed to weaken the NATO mission and the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. General Dick Berlijn told reporters in the Hague Monday that Taleban rebels are now better trained and make fewer mistakes.

Berlijn also said that Dutch armed forces may send extra soldiers to Afghanistan to reinforce the more than 1,200 Dutch troops currently stationed in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan district.

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

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