Published May 29, 2005
KABUL, Afghanistan – A video of an Italian aid worker who was kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in Kabul was broadcast Sunday on an Afghan television station. Meanwhile, Gunmen shot and killed the top Muslim leader in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Sunday, police said.
Mullah Abdul Fayaz (search), a supporter of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai (search) was shot while driving in the center of Kandahar city, said deputy police chief Gen Salim Khan. One of the cleric's aides, Haji Qari, said Fayaz died while being taken to a hospital in the city.
The hostage broadcast showed Clementina Cantoni (search), 32, a worker for CARE International, sitting with two men standing next to her with assault rifles in their hands pointed at her head.
Responding to prompts from a man who was not shown on the video, Cantoni identified herself and named her father, her mother and an uncle.
The tape, which was broadcast by independent Tolo TV (search), then zoomed in on the face of the Italian, who had a brown rug wrapped around her and a blue scarf over her head. Cantoni spoke quietly on the recording and looked nervous.
The TV station did not say how it had obtained the tape.
The Italian Foreign Ministry welcomed the video as evidence that Cantoni was alive.
"The video is reliable. Thus it's reassuring that it shows that Cantoni is in good health," ministry spokesman Pasquale Terracciano told The Associated Press in Rome. "The contacts continue."
He declined to comment when asked to elaborate about how the video ended up in the hands of the Afghan TV.
The aid worker was abducted by armed men on May 16 as she was being driven to her home in the capital.
The director for CARE International in Afghanistan, Paul Barker, said he was aware of the broadcast, but hadn't seen it.
President Hamid Karzai on Friday paid tribute to Cantoni, calling her a "daughter of Afghanistan."
Posters seeking information about her have been plastered across the city, and Afghan widows who benefited from her aid work have held rallies demanding her release.