Rome rally

About 400 people meanwhile rallied in Rome on Saturday to demand the  release of Naqshbandi.

The crowd also demanded the release of Rahmatullah Hanefi, believed to be held by the Afghan secret service. Hanefi played a role in freeing the Italian journalist.

Two large portraits of the men were displayed on either side of the speakers' platform.

Naqshbandi has been held for almost a month since he, Daniel Mastrogiacomo, a journalist with the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, and Sayed Agha, their driver, were kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Agha was beheaded in what most analysts say was a move to put pressure on Rome and Kabul to release five senior Taliban officials.
 
Mastrogiacomo was released just over 10 days ago, returning to Italy, after Italy persuaded the Afghan government to release the five Taliban officials.
 
Naqshbandi was reported as saying Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban military chief, had said the Afghan translator would be released in exchange for three more junior Taliban.
 
Asked what would happen to him if the three were not released, Yusufzai, who reported the conversation, said the phone was taken by a Taliban commander who said no decision had yet been made.
 
The risk of kidnap for foreign journalists and aid workers in Afghanistan is now thought to have increased because of the Italian government's actions, something which also raised some criticism in Italy.