An Italian medical charity has claimed three of its workers have been set up after they were arrested over an alleged plot to assassinate the governor of Helmund province in Afghanistan.
The three members of the charity Emergency were arrested on Saturday. The Afghan authorities claimed to have found hand grenades, pistols and explosive suicide vests in the Lashkar Gah hospital where they worked.
But charity founder Gino Strada he was shocked by the arrests.
“War has been declared against a hospital,” he said. “It’s a preventive war because we are troublesome eyewitnesses.”
Emergency has frequently spoken out against civilian casualties caused by Nato operations in Afghanistan.
In Helmund province, demonstrators gathered in support of their governor and called for the charity and Italian troops to be expelled.
“We demand the government and our parliament pull out all Italian troops from Afghanistan,” said one man. “They are behind violence and anti-government activity in our country.”
Six Afghans have also been arrested over the alleged assassination plot. It is claimed the Emergency members were paid 450 000 euros to kill the provincial governor.