Three German soldiers slain in Afghanistan bombing

May 20, 2007|By Los Angeles Times

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber killed three German soldiers and seven bystanders in the northern city of Kunduz yesterday, inflicting the worst casualties on German troops in Afghanistan in nearly four years.

Three soldiers and more than a dozen other people were wounded in the attack in a crowded marketplace.

German troops are deployed mainly in Afghanistan's relatively calm north. Despite appeals from other NATO countries, German leaders have refused to make them available for a broader combat role. The mission in Afghanistan is unpopular with the German public.

The deaths will probably strengthen resistance in Germany to deployment of the country's troops in more dangerous areas, such as the south and the east. The unequal sharing of combat duties, however, has caused strains within the alliance, as have arguments over tactics and whether to try to strike accords with local Taliban-linked leaders.

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