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Germany

German Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

The German military suffered its first death in Afghanistan in 15 months. Three other soldiers were injured in the attack. Berlin is to decide in October on extending the army's mandate in the country.

German soldier in Afghanistan

Germany has around 3,500 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan

A German soldier was killed Wednesday, Aug. 27, in a roadside bombing in northern Afghanistan while three others were injured.

The German Defense Ministry in Berlin confirmed the casualties, calling the attack "cowardly and underhanded."

Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung acknowledged a deteriorating security situation in northern Afghanistan, where German forces are leading reconstruction operations.

A remote-controlled bomb was used to attack an armored vehicle of the German army in the district of Chardara in Kunduz province, Governor Engineer Mohammed Omar said earlier.

He blamed Taliban militants and the al-Qaeda terrorist network for the attack.

The wounded soldiers were treated by medics from their unit before being transported to the largest German base in the country in Mazar-e Sharif.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also confirmed the death of its soldier.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the soldier's family and friends as they deal with their loss," Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette, an ISAF spokesperson, said in a statement.

Increase of attacks on German troops

Three weeks ago, three German soldiers were injured in a similar attack in a neighboring province, for which Taliban militants claimed responsibility.

Two German ISAF soldiers stand on the airport runway near the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in the city of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan

German troops have increasingly become targets

In May 2007, three German soldiers and eight civilians were killed in an attack in Kunduz, the worst strike on Germans serving as part of international forces in Afghanistan.

Germany's government is to decide in early October on extending the army's mandate in Afghanistan as security has worsened with the increase of roadside bombings.

Parliament is to be asked to consider a proposal to increase the maximum deployment from 3,000 troops to 4,500.

Over the past two weeks, 10 French and three Polish soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

ISAF has around 53,000 troops from 40 countries deployed to the country after ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.

More than 3,500 people -- mostly insurgents but including about 1,000 civilians as well as more 180 international soldiers -- have been killed so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and foreign military sources.

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