(dpa) - The head of the German armed forces, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, has told a German weekly magazine he expects more attacks on his troops by insurgents in Afghanistan.
In an interview to appear Monday in Focus, he said there were no grounds to think the rate of attacks would decline after considering recent attacks, while the Spiegel website quoted him telling parliament the German soldiers faced "new challenges."
The Germans had faced three "substantial" attacks in the past four weeks, he told the parliamentary defence committee.
Germany has around 3,500 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the bulk of them stationed in the North and the capital Kabul.
In attacks on western-funded aid organizations, seven Afghans have been killed in the past four weeks, Schneiderhan said. Three German soldiers were wounded when insurgents blew up their wheeled armoured vehicle last month. The Taliban admitted responsibility.
"Our soldiers are not cowards. They went straight back out on patrol," Schneiderhan told the parliamentary committee, rejecting suggestions that Germany had chosen a soft option in Afghanistan by staying mainly in the north.
Spiegel said a German reconnaissance patrol came under automatic fire in the middle of the last week as it was leaving camp about 8 pm near Kunduz. A camouflage net on a vehicle was set on fire by the attack, which also employed rocket-propelled grenades.
The Germans used a mounted cannon to return fire. No one was injured in the shootout.