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German troops accidentally kill Afghan soldiers

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) - German troops operating in Afghanistan have killed at least five Afghani soldiers in a friendly fire incident in the country's northern Kunduz province.

The Friday night incident came just hours after three German soldiers were killed and eight others were wounded in fighting with Taliban insurgents in the same area, according to the German military.

The German military said five Afghan soldiers were killed in Friday's shooting, but the Afghan authorities reported six deaths.

German soldiers in an artillery tank reportedly opened fire at two civilian vehicles when they moved toward them and did not stop. Soon after, the German troops discovered the vehicles were carrying Afghan soldiers.

CNN quoted Afghanistan's Defense Ministry as saying the Afghan soldiers were carrying food to troops in the Kunduz province's Chardara district when they were attacked by German troops by mistake.

"This loss of life during difficult operations is tragic, and we share condolences with all those who lost loved ones yesterday," Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay, NATO's International Security Assistance Force spokesman, was quoted by the TV channel as saying.

Following Friday's incident, thousands of peace activists reportedly took to the streets across Germany on Saturday, demanding the immediate withdrawal of German troops from the war-ravaged country.

Germany has more than 4,300 troops in Afghanistan, which is the third largest force after the U.S. and Britain. Some 89,000 troops are involved in the International Security Assistance Force operating in Afghanistan under a UN mandate.

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