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German minister ‘shot at’ during Afghan visit

A helicopter convoy carrying German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg came under fire from the ground during a recent surprise visit to troops in the area, several media reported on Sunday.

None of the three helicopters in the convoy were hit during the attack, which happened on Friday morning after the minister visited German soldiers in the northern area of Kunduz, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said.

On his two-day trip, his first to the region, zu Guttenberg held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.

He also met US General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the 100,000-strong international force in Afghanistan.

On the second day of the visit, Berlin announced it would send an extra 120 soldiers to Afghanistan to add to its contingent of around 4,300 already on the ground.

The extra infantry company will arrive in mid-January in Kunduz, defence ministry spokesman Steffen Moritz told reporters.

Germany’s parliament has capped at 4,500 the number of German soldiers that can be sent to take part in the mission, which is highly unpopular in the country.

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