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German Troops Mistakenly Kill 6 Afghan Soldiers

VOA News 03 April 2010

NATO has vowed to investigate an incident in which German troops mistakenly killed as many as six Afghan soldiers in the northern province of Kunduz.

The German military says the incident occurred late Friday, when one of its patrols opened fire on two unmarked civilian vehicles that refused to stop after being warned. Troops later discovered that Afghan soldiers were inside.

A NATO spokesman, Eric Tremblay, said Saturday the alliance will investigate the shootings and strive to improve its tactics, techniques and procedures.

The spokesman said NATO works "extremely hard to coordinate and synchronize" operations with Afghan forces, and that incidents such as this one hurt those efforts.

German officials say the troops were on their way to the scene of a deadly gunbattle with the Taliban near the city of Kunduz, when they encountered the two cars. Three German soldiers were killed in the gunbattle.

The exact number of Afghans killed in the friendly fire incident remains unclear. Afghan officials say six Afghan troops were killed, while the German military put the toll at five.

NATO issued a statement Saturday offering condolences to the victims' families.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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