Afghan suicide blast wounds five German troops

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The Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the blast, similar to scores carried out by the insurgents as part of their campaign against the Western-backed government and the foreign troops supporting it.

Mazar-I-Sharif -- A suicide car bomb attack targeting a German convoy in Afghanistan wounded five soldiers Wednesday on the same day that Germany's foreign minister visited Kabul, Berlin said.

"According to the information currently available, five German soldiers were slightly injured," the German defence ministry said in a statement.

The attacker blew himself up in a vehicle 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of the northern city of Kunduz as a German reconstruction team in a Dingo armoured vehicle passed, the ministry added.

"There were no casualties to civilians," Afghan provincial governor in Kunduz, Mohammad Omar, told AFP.

The Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the blast, similar to scores carried out by the insurgents as part of their campaign against the Western-backed government and nearly 70,000 foreign troops supporting it.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Kabul earlier Wednesday for a joint visit accompanied by Germany's new envoy for the region.

He held talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta and was due to meet President Hamid Karzai on a two-day trip.

Germany has around 3,500 soldiers in Afghanistan and its contribution to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is the third-largest behind those of the United States and Britain.

The German parliament voted last year to increase the troop numbers to 4,500 although the mission remains unpopular at home.

Thirty-one German soldiers have been killed in the country since 2002.

AFP/Expatica

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