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Detained Afghan journalists freed

Three Afghan journalists held by coalition forces and Afghanistan's intelligence service for allegedly spreading Taliban propaganda have been freed, Nato has said.

They were all detained over the past week, with Rahmatullah Naikzad and Mohammad Nadir held by the Nato-led coalition and Afghan security forces, and Hojatullah Mujadad by the Afghan intelligence service.

Nato said all three had been freed, a move which comes after an outcry from fellow media workers and a call from President Hamid Karzai for their quick release.

Mr Naikzad, who has worked for Al-Jazeera and as a freelancer for the Associated Press, was detained by coalition forces in the eastern town of Ghazni.

"After reviewing the initial intelligence and information received during questioning, the two men were not considered a significant security threat and were released," said Rear Admiral Gregory Smith. "During their brief detention, they were treated humanely and in accordance with international law and US policies."

Mr Naikzad said he was not mistreated, but his eyes were covered and his hands were bound. He said he was not given proper time for prayer.

Mr Nadir was detained on Wednesday morning at his home in the southern city of Kandahar. Coalition troops woke up his wife and forcibly removed him from his bedroom as they searched the house, Al-Jazeera said in a statement.

Mr Naikzad was arrested in his home on Monday. Nato said three grenades, magazines and a "significant number of AK-47 rounds" were found in the compound where he was detained. It is common for Afghans to keep weapons for self-protection.

Mr Mujadadi, a radio station manager in Kapisa province, north of Kabul, was arrested by Afghan agents on Saturday. Nato said in a statement that he was freed by Afghan authorities as well.

The arrests sparked an angry reaction from Afghan media workers, journalism advocates and human rights groups, and Mr Karzai called for their quick release.

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