• Germany edition
 
Deadly air strike colonel to be promoted
Photo: DPA

Deadly air strike colonel to be promoted

Published: 09 Aug 2012 12:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Aug 2012 12:39 GMT+02:00

Colonel Georg Klein, 51, has been offered a job as division director in the new federal office for personnel management, a position that includes an automatic promotion to general.

The post is being created by the merger of the army’s military and civilian personnel departments. He is currently working in the military section, but is expected to take up the new job next spring.

In September 2009, Klein ordered a NATO air strike on two oil tanker trucks in Kunduz that killed over 100 Afghans, most of whom are thought to have been civilians.

Klein was investigated by German state prosecutors, though the investigation was dropped, and the Bundeswehr also dropped any disciplinary proceedings after several months.

The promotion effectively absolves him of any wrongdoing, even though his seniors were sacked following the scandal.

The Kunduz affair cost the job of Labour Minister Franz Josef Jung, who was defence minister at the time of the attack, after it emerged that he had misinformed parliament about the extent of the killing of innocents. His successor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg then sacked Bundeswehr Chief of Staff Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Defence Ministry Secretary of State Peter Wichert for allegedly withholding information from him.

Karim Popal, the lawyer representing the victims, has strongly criticized the decision to promote Klein. "The promotion would be a slap in the face for the Afghan civilian population would be like a declaration of war," he told Thursday's edition of the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Green Party MP Hans-Christian Ströbele, a long-time opponent of Germany's military intervention in Afghanistan, said the "catastrophic bloodbath" that he said Klein was responsible for should rule out any promotion.

An Amnesty International report on the air strike listed 83 names of victims, several of whom were under 16 years old. The report also said many people had died because the usual warning flyovers had been omitted.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:02 August 9, 2012 by Landmine
Yet another example that goes to show you that only the screw ups get promoted. Those that know what they are doing have to stay near the botton so things can run.... lol!
14:42 August 9, 2012 by mobaisch
congratulations!
15:59 August 9, 2012 by johnny108
The politics may be wrong, but as a soldier, he was very effective. What's the problem?
16:08 August 9, 2012 by beeker
Right out of Catch 22.
17:01 August 9, 2012 by lucksi
There is a saying in Germany about people like this only falling up the ladder. Does that exist in English too?
19:04 August 9, 2012 by al-Mundane
There are some English idioms that are similar, but I haven't heard any as eloquent as "falling up the ladder." I'll be using that from now on.
19:41 August 9, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
If the General had been circumcised, this would not have happened, as regular readers of the Local know!
20:02 August 9, 2012 by Mark S.
It's worth remembering that not every soldier who kills civilians has done something wrong. The story says that Klein was investigated but the investigation did not accuse him of doing anything wrong. Those who got sacked were the ones who lied about what happened.

It happens that sometimes civilians are mis-identified as combatants. It happens that sometimes civilians are killed unintentionally. If you can't deal with that, then you can't send your army to a war.
21:15 August 9, 2012 by wxman
The field commander who overly concerns himself with collateral damage as opposed to mission accomplishment and the safety of his troops is ineffective. It has always been thus.
03:00 August 10, 2012 by Edin
This is disgracefull!

If they where only American or German civilians, his arse would be fired to the Moon.This shows how big hypocrits people, are even when it comes to inocent life, civilians, children.

But it is clear from the comments that most of those are from military personel, presumebly US staitioned in Germany. And their list of collaterall damage from Japan - Hiroshima, Vietnam to Afganistan is now larger than entire population of Afganistan.... You must be proud of yourselvs.
06:22 August 10, 2012 by coffeelover
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:50 August 10, 2012 by raandy
Mark S. thats sums it up, the incident, as unfortunate as it was , was throughly investigated and determined not to be his fault.
08:09 August 14, 2012 by dr.makni49
Congrats Col for promotion, you did your job for what military expected you to do. Being a soldier myself, I know if a soldier starts indulging in ifs and buts when even the microseconds count heavy, he is reduced to a non-performer.

If fault lies anywhere, it is with the people who sent him in the conflict. Good job done .
19:57 August 16, 2012 by Whipmanager
@dr.makni: You sir have it 100% right.

In this world where the Islamist fighters violate every law to save their precious little war vehicles and warmaking capability, there are going to be collateral deaths.

In Iraq and in Lebanon, Palistine, and many other places, the cowardly warrior hides his arms and weapons in schools, churches, in many places that are illegal. Full well knowing that the minute the infidel aggressor attacks the missile emplacement, or criminal illegal combatant, they will hit innocents. The israelis even started calling the homes of people in the building about to be attacked and telling the innocents to leave ASAP.

People get hurt, but is the target legitimate otherwise? If no innocent civilians were hurt in the attack attributed to the Colonel, would the target have been a good target?

@Edin: They would not have been German or American civilians as we do not hide our arms and weapons amongst the masses. We follow the international rules of engagement and have professional military persons. One might say that the islamist combatants are not aware of rules about hiding guns and things in Mosques, but then one would be kidding themselves. They fight to win, they are not encumbered by rules of Engagement or any conventions that would protect landmarks or children..they want to cause an incident so as to inflame the populaces where they are.

GOd Bless teh Colonel and his promotion. He will be in a position to make a difference and maybe fix the ROE and other problems facing German soldiers having been a victim of them himself.
Today's headlines
Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack
Oettinger (l) appeared to misunderstand how the internet works in his comments about the photo hack which has reportedly affected celebrities including Amber Heard (r). Photo: DPA/EPA

Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack

German newspapers on Tuesday ridiculed incoming EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger after he blamed "stupid" celebrities for having their private nude pictures hacked and spread online. READ  

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van
Police outside the Apple Store in Berlin where a security van was robbed. Photo: DPA

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van

A gang disguised as pensioners opened fire on a Berlin security van on Monday night, escaping with cash before setting their getaway car on fire. It is the second such attack in ten days. READ  

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event
Ralf Jäger in front of a sign reading "eyes open and pockets closed" at the pickpocketing awareness event. Photo: DPA

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event

North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister Ralf Jäger was pickpocketed by a magician at a press conference he called on Monday to launch a campaign against pickpocketing. READ  

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list
Photo: DPA

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list

A probe into German transplant centres sparked by an organ donor scandal has revealed 14 cases of a doctor fiddling medical records at one of Germany’s leading heart centres. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers
A stranded group of travellers from Vancouver, Canada, sit and wait at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers

UPDATE: The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. Around 20,000 passengers have been affected. READ  

View from Germany
'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'
Photo: DPA/Police

'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Immigrants have created how many German jobs?
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,154
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd