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Italian Prime Minister Holds Talks with Afghan President

  • VOA News

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul Sunday.

Mr. Prodi's visit comes a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made unannounced trips to Afghanistan.

The Italian leader is also expected to meet with some of the two thousand Italian troops stationed in the western city of Herat. They are part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Italy and France pledged long-term political, economic and military support for the war-torn country, while Australia announced plans to provide Afghanistan with nearly 95-million dollars in economic aid.

The visits came as officials in eastern Ghazni province said Taliban militants killed seven hostages, including at least two soldiers, a policemen and two civilians.

In other violence Sunday, three Afghan civilians were killed in a roadside bombing in southeastern Khost province, while US-led coalition and Afghan security forces killed several Taliban insurgents in central Uruzgan province.

Also, three Canadian soldiers were wounded north of Kandahar city. Their injuries are not life threatening.

Taliban militants have increased attacks over the past two years, despite continued efforts by U.S. and NATO forces to strengthen the government and end the insurgency.

The US has urged its NATO allies to provide more support to Afghanistan.

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