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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Kidnapped Italian shown in video
Child cries in front of poster with abducted Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni
Clementina Cantoni was kidnapped on 16 May
A video showing an Italian aid worker being held hostage in Afghanistan has been aired by a private TV channel.

Officials said they believed it was Clementina Cantoni, 32, in apparently good health on the video.

But there was some confusion over the timing of tape as she said: "Today is May 28, Sunday," Reuters reported.

Ms Cantoni, who works for Care International, was abducted on 16 May by gunmen who forced her out of her car in central Kabul.

She has been in Afghanistan since September 2003, and manages a programme to support more than 10,000 widows and their children.

The brief video showed Ms Cantoni wrapped in a blanket, sitting on the floor between two gunmen with weapons pointed at her head.

Italian foreign ministry spokesman Pasquale Terracciano said the video was "reliable".

"Thus it's reassuring that it shows that Cantoni is in good health," he told the Associated Press news agency.

'Not helpful'

Earlier this week, the Afghan government criticised the Italian embassy in Kabul for trying to negotiate Ms Cantoni's release with her alleged kidnappers.

"We believe these kind of contacts are not helpful for the negotiations and the safe release of Clementina," interior ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told the AFP news agency.

But Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday said he was confident the hostage would be freed.

"Many people are working on it," he said.

The private TV channel that aired the video, Tolo TV, did not say how it got the tape, Reuters said.

Italy-Afghanistan kidnap dispute
26 May 05 |  South Asia
Clementina Cantoni: A force for good
19 May 05 |  South Asia
Abducted Italian 'makes contact'
18 May 05 |  South Asia

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