German Army Convoy Comes Under Attack in Afghanistan | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 31.08.2008
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German Army Convoy Comes Under Attack in Afghanistan

Four days after an attack on a German Army patrol in Afghanistan claimed one soldier's life, a Bundeswehr patrol came under attack when a roadside bomb exploded on Sunday. No one was injured.

A Bundeswehr convoy near the city of Kunduz in 2007

Violence in Afghanistan has led some in Germany to consider bringing troops home

A German convoy in Afghanistan was attacked Sunday, Aug. 31, the German military command in the eastern city of Potsdam said.

The patrol, which included several vehicles, came under attack on Sunday morning about 45 kilometers (30 miles) west of the northern city of Kunduz, in a region known to harbor Taliban militants.

No one was injured and the vehicles incurred only minor damage when the bomb went off, a spokesman for the command said.

On Wednesday, an eight-vehicle convoy patrolling the outskirts of Kunduz, where the German military has its base, was hit by an improvised explosive device, killing a German staff sergeant and injuring three other troops.

The German death took to 187 the number of international soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year. Forty-three have died this month alone, according to an AFP news agency count based on official figures.

The majority of the attacks have been concentrated in southern and eastern Afghanistan, but there has also been scattered violence in the country's north and west. Germany has some 3,500 troops stationed in northern Afghanistan.

Sunday's incident also came on the heels of Afghan and German troops on Friday killing two children and a woman by opening fire on cars that failed to stop at a checkpoint.

The civilians' death could "bring the perception that the Bundeswehr is an occupying force back into the foreground," Social Democratic defense spokesman Walter Kolbow told the weekly Welt am Sonntag ahead of Sunday's attack.

While the German soldiers had largely been seen as a stabilizing force, "now the role of perpetrator has reached us."

The mounting violence has fueled debate about the Afghanistan mission in Germany, where polls show the deployment is unpopular. A number of opposition politicians have also recently called the deployment of German troops to Afghanistan into question.

The Left Party's Gergor Gysi told news agencies that the deaths of Afghan civilians were the shared responsibility of German and Afghan forces and would "bring the situation to a head." He added that Germany "risked falling into a quagmire of a dirty war that does not fight terrorism but leads to a new inclination towards violence that impairs civil reconstruction efforts."

The deputy head of the Christian conservatives' parliamentary group, Eckart von Klaeden, said the Bundeswehr's mission served the security of Afghans as well as Germans.

"I think the way civilian victims are now being exploited by [opposition parties] to turn people against the deployment is tasteless," he said.

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