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Bundeswehr: NATO clears German officer

AFP/DDP/The Local · 29 Oct 2009, 17:46

Published: 29 Oct 2009 17:46 GMT+01:00

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"In light of the results of the report, I have no reason to doubt that German soldiers acted in the correct military fashion, given their mandate from the United Nations and the difficult operational situation," General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, general inspector of the army, said in a speech in Berlin.

The report focused on an air strike called by Bundeswehr Colonel Georg Klein on September 4 in order to destroy two fuel trucks taken by the Taliban in the northern Afghan region near Kunduz.

Berlin at first contended that only Islamist insurgents had been killed in the bombardment, but later had to admit there had been an unspecified number of civilian victims. Klein was then accused of violating NATO's rules of engagement in calling the strike.

A NATO spokesman confirmed that the report had been delivered to Berlin but said he was not aware of its contents.

"I do not know what it contains and I absolutely do not know if anyone intends to make it public," James Appathurai told AFP.

Schneiderhan said the exact death toll in the attack could no longer be determined, adding that the report cited a range of between 17 and 142 casualties. He added that the contents of the report were secret and that he could not release further details.

However, he said the report "does not confirm that innocent people were killed in the air strike."

Story continues below…

The bombing targeted two fuel tankers that German forces said were hijacked by Taliban and represented a danger to them. However, accounts of several civilian casualties prompted critical reactions even from Germany's own NATO allies.

Germany has around 4,400 troops in an increasingly unpopular mission in Afghanistan facing an ever more tenacious insurgency.

AFP/DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:26 October 30, 2009 by BnB
The title of the article is misleading because it presents the claim of the Bundeswehr as a statement of fact. That is the impression that anyone would get if they read just the title and not the article in full.

There is nothing in the article to back up this claim. In fact, the a NATO spokesman is quoted: "I do not know what it [the report] contains and I absolutely do not know if anyone intends to make it public," James Appathurai told AFP. And General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, general inspector of the army "added that the contents of the report were secret and that he could not release further details".

So the claim is possibly just spin from the Bundeswehr. And how often do you hear an army admitting to war crimes?
17:31 October 30, 2009 by mixxim
So if a terrorist nicks a tanker full of fuel, a supply of arms or a warship, what should you do? Sue him or maybe if you ask nicely he might give it back?
16:04 November 1, 2009 by Psypher
"So the claim is possibly just spin from the Bundeswehr. And how often do you hear an army admitting to war crimes? "

um...hold on just a sec. It says "**NATO** clears German officer", NOT Bundeswehr clears officer. What this means, in practical terms, is that this was a multilateral decision/conclusion.

And I can tell you this much: if the FRENCH (of all member countries) signed off on this guy's inculpability, he's gotta be innocent of any military protocol violations.
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