Germany talks tough after troops die in Afghanistan
Three German soldiers died Tuesday when their armoured vehicle overturned while reversing during a firefight with insurgents near the northern town of Kunduz.Berlin -- Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung talked tough on Afghanistan on Wednesday, a day after Germany lost three troops in clashes with insurgents in the north of the country.
"If we are attacked we will fight back. The army has the necessary answers," Jung said on public television station ARD. "In recent battles we have done well and we will continue to do so in the future."
The German army said that the three soldiers aged 21 to 23 died when their armoured vehicle overturned while reversing during a firefight with insurgents near the northern town of Kunduz on Tuesday morning.
The provincial governor Mohammad Omar said that the vehicle overturned in a stream. German media reports said the three drowned.
The deaths took the number of German soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2002 to 35. The German soldiers are part of the 60,000-strong International Security Assistance force led by NATO and made up of troops from 42 nations.
Germany has around 3,700 troops in the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan. The contingent is being raised to up to 4,400 ahead of Afghanistan's presidential elections in August.
Jung told ARD that an increase in insurgent activity in northern Afghanistan was an attempt by the Taliban to disrupt the August vote and to increase already strong public opposition in Germany to the mission.