CARE Questions Report Aide Worker Is Dead

The aid agency CARE said Friday it was uncertain about the accuracy of reports that kidnappers had killed an Italian hostage and that the organization was still working for her release.

Foreign media reports quoted Temur Shah, the purported kidnapper of Clementina Cantoni (search), 32, as saying that he killed her because the government did not agree to his demands.

But the director of CARE International (search) in Afghanistan, Paul Barker, said it wasn't clear if the reports are true.

"We don't know if the reports are accurate or not and we continue to do all we can for Clementina," he said.

Shortly after the reports emerged about the hostage being killed, Shah contradicted the reports that she was dead and told The Associated Press by telephone that he had brought a doctor to treat Cantoni and that she was OK. He did not say what the medical problem was.

"She is fine. We brought a doctor to her today," he said.

Jawed Ludin, spokesman for President Hamid Karzai (search), said in a live interview broadcast on independent Tolo TV that the government was still trying to win the Italian's freedom.

"The government is working very seriously to secure her release," he said. He made the comment after the reports emerged that Cantoni had been killed.

Cantoni was kidnapped on Monday in the capital, Kabul.