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Four Soldiers Killed in Taliban Attack: Germany's Dangerous Afghanistan Strategy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Bundeswehr's new strategy in Afghanistan involves training Afghan soldiers, something that many assumed would be low risk. But Thursday's Taliban attack, which killed four Germans involved in a training operation, shows that the mission is still highly dangerous.

The bad news reached German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg just after he landed at a German supply base in Termez, Uzbekistan on Thursday. Four German soldiers had been killed and five others injured, two seriously. The attack on the German Bundeswehr soldiers had taken place almost simultaneously with Guttenberg's departure from Afghanistan, where he had made a surprise visit to German troops. Less than two weeks after three Germany soldiers were killed in an ambush on April 2, Germany is once again mourning its fallen.

Thursday's attack was the most serious to date for the German armed forces in northern Afghanistan. At around 2:30 p.m. local time, militants struck in the region of Baghlan, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the German base in Kunduz.

The Germans were traveling together with Swedish and Belgian soldiers as part of an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT). Around 150 trainers and other soldiers were escorting about 1,000 Afghan soldiers from the Afghan National Army. They had been mentoring the local security forces in battle tactics during an ongoing operation against the Taliban code-named "Taohid II." The large-scale operation had been resumed Wednesday after a break of several days.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:20:35 PM EST
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