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German President Makes Surprise Afghanistan Trip


Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) talks with German President Christian Wulff following a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 16, 2011.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) talks with German President Christian Wulff following a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 16, 2011.

Afghan security forces killed three would-be suicide bombers who tried to storm a government office in eastern Paktia province Sunday.

Officials said the heavily armed insurgents arrived in a car filled with explosives and attempted to enter the municipality building in the provincial capital, Gardez.

The three were killed by police in an ensuing firefight. A spokesman for the provincial governor said a municipal employee died in the crossfire, while the bomb-rigged vehicle blew up during the gunbattle.

In an unrelated development, German President Christian Wulff visited Afghanistan Sunday for talks with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. The two discussed the upcoming conference on Afghanistan in Bonn in early December.

Mr. Wulff assured the Afghan leader that Germany will remain a "friend and partner" of Afghanistan even after the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014. Mr. Karzai expressed hope that the conference will lay the foundation for Afghanistan's prosperity, stability and peace.

Germany has approximately 5,000 troops in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, mainly in the north.

Mr. Wulff is the second German president to visit Afghanistan in 44 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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