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Italy: Afghanistan Frees 3 Italian Aid Workers

Italy's foreign minister says Afghan authorities have released three Italian aid workers detained in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Sunday he was satisfied with the swift resolution of the case.

Afghan authorities in the southern city of Lashkar Gah arrested the three members of the Italian medical charity Emergency, along with six other employees, on April 10. Authorities had accused the aid workers of involvement in a plot to kill the governor of Helmand province.

Afghan police said weapons and suicide vests were found in the hospital where they worked. The aid workers strongly denied the accusations.

The Italian foreign minister said the release came about without "putting into question" Italy's solidarity with Afghanistan in the international fight against terrorism.

Italy has more than 3,000 troops serving in Afghanistan with the NATO-led international forces.

Meanwhile, NATO says one of its service members has died from a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. The soldier's nationality was not given in Sunday's statement. NATO previously reported the killing of two Dutch soldiers Saturday by a roadside bomb in Uruzgan province. The Netherlands' Defense Ministry said a third Dutch soldier was seriously wounded in that attack. It is not clear if the latest service member to die was that wounded soldier.

NATO also says Afghan and international forces found two caches of weapons in the Garm Ser and Lashkar Gah districts of Helmand province Saturday. The weapons included assault rifles, explosive devices and materials used in bomb-making.

Another joint patrol found a cache of weapons in Kandahar province after receiving a tip from an Afghan civilian. NATO added Sunday that Afghan and international forces found more than 1,700 kilograms of opium and about 280 kilograms of hashish in two trucks in Helmand province on Saturday.

The joint force took the truck occupants into custody and plans to destroy the narcotics.

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