The five soldiers from the international security force were trying to defuse SA-3 anti-aircraft missiles when one of the weapons exploded, German Gen. Harald Kujat told reporters at a press conference this morning in Berlin.
Three other soldiers were injured seriously and at least seven suffered minor injuries from the blast. No additional details about the killed or wounded soldiers were immediately available.
“This was an accident. It appears that the material detonated too early although it appears that every protocol was followed,” Kujat told reporters.
The precise cause of the accident remains unclear, but there were no signs of sabotage, said Germany’s top military officer.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed condolences to the victims’ families, but emphasized that the tragic accident should not undermine Germany’s presence in Afghanistan.
Over 1,000 German soldiers are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, and surrounding the capital city.
The United Nations has sent nearly 4,000 international troops to help ensure stability in Kabul during the post-Taliban reconstruction efforts.