Three Italian aid workers in Afghanistan have been accused of plotting to kill the governor of Helmand province. Emergency, the Milan-based charity, said on Sunday that the arrest of its workers on Saturday was an attempt by the Afghan government and Nato forces to silence a "troublesome witness" of the suffering of civilians in the country. "They want to get rid of a troublesome witness. Someone has organised this set-up because they want Emergency to leave Afghanistan," Gino Strada, the head of the charity, told reporters. He accused the government of President Hamid Karzai of effectively "kidnapping" the charity's employees - a doctor, a nurse and a logistics worker - with the backing of Nato forces fighting the Taliban in the province. The three were taken from a hospital run by Emergency in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, which is Afghanistan's most violent province and where US and British forces launched a massive assault in February against Taliban fighters. A spokesman for the Nato-led international force said on Saturday no Nato troops were involved in the arrest, but Mr Strada claimed video footage of the arrest showed Nato soldiers were at the hospital. "Emergency shows the results of the so-called war on terrorism ... 40 per cent of the wounded are children under the age of 14. We had asked for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the wounded, but they put up a security cordon that does not let them reach hospitals," Mr Strada said. "Until recently we managed to treat the wounded because international conventions were respected ... Today this is no longer possible," he said. Provincial authorities said six Afghans had also been arrested with the Italians and that explosive suicide vests, hand grenades and pistols were found at the charity's hospital. On Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Lashkar Gah chanting "Death to Emergency" Asked to explain how weapons could have entered the hospital, Mr Strada said: "There is always the possibility that someone was bribed and placed them during the search." "Who with a grain of salt in his head could think that an Italian doctor would go to Afghanistan to blow up the governor of a province? It all seems grotesque to me." Italy, which has around 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, has said it is studying the case. Emergency has operated clinics and hospitals in some of the most difficult parts of Afghanistan throughout years of war, including under Taliban rule before 2001. Its hospital in Lashkar Gah is one of the few foreign-run clinics in the province. The group temporarily withdrew from the country in 2007 in protest at the arrest of one of its employees who had acted as a go-between with the Taliban helping to secure the release of a kidnapped Italian journalist. (Telegraph)