Police in the Afghan province of Kunduz have accused the German Bundeswehr of killing a woman. An army spokesman only confirmed there had been a firefight and that the Bundeswehr was looking into the incident.
German soldiers are mainly posted in Kunduz
The allegations are grave. German soldiers are accused of killing one woman and injuring another on Wednesday. However, the Bundeswehr, whose soldiers are largely stationed in the northern province of Kunduz, says there is no evidence and an examination is underway.
Gulam Mahidin, the police chief of Chardarah district, told reporters on Thursday that the woman had been killed while inside her house. Another woman, who was standing outside, was injured, he said, adding that there had been no police reports confirming there had been a firefight.
A UN report has found that civilian casualties have increased
According to a Bundeswehr spokesperson in Kunduz, a German patrol was shot at and returned fire. Later on, locals stopped another patrol, about one and a half kilometers away, and handed over a woman who had a head injury. The spokesperson said the injury was not from a gunshot.
The woman was apparently treated immediately by a mobile team of doctors, without which no patrol ever goes out, and brought to the nearest field hospital. She later died.
A second woman is supposed to have come to the hospital in the city of Kunduz on her own. She had a slight shrapnel injury to her foot which the spokesman said could have resulted from a firefight.
UN report says civilian casualties are up
The controversial incident comes as the United Nations just published a report indicating that more and more civilians are being killed or injured in the ongoing Afghan war. Some 2,800 died last year – 15 percent more than in the previous year.
Patrols rarely go out without medical teams
Three-quarters fell victim to insurgents but 16 percent were killed by ISAF troops. For 9 percent of the victims, it is unclear which party was to blame. The report also found that ISAF measures to protect civilians had been partly successful – there were 440 deaths attributed to international troops in 2010, a quarter less than in 2009.
Unfortunately, civilian casualties are not likely to abate completely. Insurgents often use civilians as human shields. The UN slams this practice in its report.
International troops are hoping to clip the Taliban’s wings this year by launching more offensives.
Although the situation is better in Kunduz – a former Taliban stronghold – than a few years ago, more attacks on foreign and Afghan soldiers, as well as on the helpless civilian population, are expected in the spring.
Author: Sabine Matthay/act
Editor: Thomas Bärthlein