A suicide bomber struck a NATO patrol in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, killing at least two soldiers and five children Oct. 20. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not reveal the soldiers’ nationality, but Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar said they were German. The attacker apparently rode up to the patrol on a bicycle. The attacker Germany has some 3,000 soldiers in northern Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, ISAF acknowledged that civilians may have been killed in an air-strike on insurgents last week in southern Helmand province. Villagers in Nad Ali in Helmand province said 27 civilians were killed in the Oct. 17 strike. ISAF opened an investigation in response to the claims, which were backed up by provincial officials. (BBC, London Times, Oct. 20; ISAF press release, Oct. 18; Xinhua, Oct. 17)
One day earlier, 31 Afghans were reported killed by Taliban insurgents after they stopped a bus travelling from Kandahar to Helmand as it passed through Maiwand, a Taliban-controlled district just west of Kandahar city. Afghan authorities said all 31 were civilians. But Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi told AlJazeera that only 27 were killed, and they were all Afghan army personnel. He said the Taliban fighters released all the civilian passangers before killing the soldiers. This was categorically denied by Afghan Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, who said: “Our soldiers travel by military convoy, not in civilian buses. And we have military air transportation.” (AlJazeera, Oct. 19)