German friendly fire kills Afghan soldiers

The German central command confirmed yesterday's friendly fire incident, but put the number of Afghan casualties at five. The deaths occurred amid heavy fighting between German troops and militants near the northern city Kunduz.

The German military said German soldiers who were rushing from Kunduz to the scene of the fighting yesterday afternoon encountered two civilian vehicles and demanded that they stop.When they did not, a German armored personnel carrier opened fire on them, the statement said. The vehicles were later found to have been transporting Afghan troops and an investigation is pending, the military added.

Shortly before, German troops had been attacked while on a bridge-building and mine-clearing mission southwest of Kunduz city, formerly a relatively calm area in the north that has lately seen a rising level of insurgent violence.

Kunduz provincial government spokesman Muhboballuh Sayedi said Afghan commanders were meeting today with coalition forces to discuss the incident.
The Afghan Defence Ministry issued a statement condemning the incident and expressing condolences to families of the dead soldiers.

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