Danish soldier killed, three Germans hurt in Afghanistan

KABUL (AFP) — A Danish soldier was killed and another wounded and three German troops were also hurt in attacks in Afghanistan blamed on insurgents linked to the Taliban movement, military officials said.

Danish forces were on patrol Wednesday in the southern province of Helmand province, a hotbed of Taliban activity, when they came under fire, said a spokesman with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“Regrettably as a result of the firefight one Danish soldier was killed and another was wounded,” British Lieutenant Colonel Simon Miller told AFP.

In the far north two German soldiers were seriously injured and a third slightly wounded when a blast struck their vehicle near the city of Kunduz overnight, Afghan officials and the German military said.

The two seriously wounded would be evacuated to Germany soon, a spokesman for the military command centre in the eastern German city of Potsdam said.

Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar told AFP the blast was caused by a remotely detonated roadside bomb but this was not immediately confirmed by the German military.

“It was the enemies of peace in Afghanistan,” Omar said. The term is most often used to refer to Taliban-linked militants. ISAF in Afghanistan did not immediately have information.

The Taliban were in government between 1996 and 2001 when they were removed for harbouring Al-Qaeda.

Their attacks largely focus on the southern and eastern areas bordering Pakistan, where rebels’ command and control structures are said to be based.

But there has also been violence in the north, sometimes blamed on other radical factions, ethnic groups or criminals.

Germany has around 3,200 soldiers mostly deployed in a relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan. Three were killed in a suicide blast in Kunduz in May.

The country has been under pressure by NATO allies to send combat troops to southern Afghanistan, where the insurgency has been most deadly, but Berlin has said it plans to continue its focus on reconstruction in the north.

Denmark is one of the countries in the volatile south with around 550 troops in Helmand, where Taliban attacks are regular and the rebels are tied into a booming opium trade.

ISAF draws its 47,000 troops from 39 countries. It is helping the Afghan government restore security in the face of an insurgency by the Taliban, who were in government between 1996 and 2001, and push development.

More than 30 international soldiers have been killed this year, most of them in hostile action.

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