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Guttenberg makes surprise Afghanistan visit

DDP/DPA/The Local · 12 Nov 2009, 11:09

Published: 12 Nov 2009 08:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Nov 2009 11:09 GMT+01:00

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In his first visit to the war-torn country since taking the helm at the Defence Ministry, Guttenberg was to hold talks with the head of NATO’s ISAF mission Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his Afghan counterpart Abdel Rahim Wardak and President Hamid Karzai.

“We stand by our mission, but we want to know what the Afghan government is planning as its next goals,” Guttenberg said.

Later in the day, he will head to northern Afghanistan to inspect German troops stationed there. The Bundeswehr currently has around 4,400 soldiers deployed in the country, making it the third-largest contingent of NATO forces.

Speaking to German public broadcaster ARD on Thursday morning, Guttenberg said he would push for legal clarity for German soldiers engaging in combat. He said presently it is uncertain whether the use of force should be assessed according to criminal law, international law, or the laws regulating the police.

“That’s not an assessment the defence minister can make alone,” he said. “We will need an evaluation by the German judicial system.”

Last week, German federal prosecutors took over the investigation into the deadly NATO air strike in Afghanistan ordered by Bundeswehr Col. Georg Klein in September.

The chief state prosecutor’s office in Dresden handed the case over to the country’s highest investigators, who must now decide whether Klein’s decision to call the attack, which resulted in the death of up to 142 insurgents and civilians, was in line with international criminal law.

Story continues below…

Just after the incident occurred, Berlin contended that only Islamist insurgents had been killed in the bombardment of two fuel trucks, but later admitted there had been an unspecified number of civilian victims. Klein was then accused of violating NATO's rules of engagement by calling the strike.

The German parliament is expected to extend the mandate of the military deployment in December.

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

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Your comments about this article

11:57 November 12, 2009 by Celeon
"...but we want to know what the Afghan government is planning as its next goals"


Well, i would say it is fully occupied by trying to stay in power. At least that limited regional power it has. Karzai is barely ruling Kabul afterall.

¦quot;That¦#39;s not an assessment the defence minister can make alone,¦quot; he said. ¦quot;We will need an evaluation by the German judicial system.¦quot;

Thats a nice democratic achievement but also the source of the whole problem.

Before the german judicial system even gets close to a decision on that matter, (and they will propably decide that killing is "not nice") the Taliban will already have half of Kunduz intimidated.

Simply because their "judicial system" has already made the decision that its absolutely ok to kill the enemy and everyone who helps him whenever there is the slightest opportunity for that. And that around 8 years ago.

For them thats of course the only logical decision and i doubt that they needed more than 5 minutes to agree on that thing of common sense.
13:43 November 12, 2009 by Psypher

If you've read any of my comments on similar articles, you'll know that I agree with you on this 100%

However, when discussing the Bundeswehr's rules of engagement in Afghanistan, two problems come to mind:

1) As you've already pointed out, the nature of our democratic system (and German political sentiments) will likely result in a self-imposed operational handicap.

2) How/when the Taliban decided "to kill the enemy and everyone who helps him whenever there is the slightest opportunity" (or whether they even needed a "debate" on the matter in the first place) doesn't really matter. Its far easier for them to identify and kill us (we kinda stick out around there...and oh yeah, we wear uniforms!)

Ultimately, nothing good is gonna come of an "evaluation by the German judicial system"...

This is all one big joke at the expense of the safety/security of our troops.
03:56 November 13, 2009 by derExDeutsche
better than nothing. still would like to see them in the 's#@!t" from time to time.

step up, boys. we won't tell on ya.
14:09 November 13, 2009 by Psypher
Just cuz you don't hear about it doesn't mean it ain't happening ;-)

KSK teams 2 and 5 are in the sh!t pretty much every week...
16:34 November 13, 2009 by Psypher
Rough translation of current Bundeswehr (regular forces) ROE:

08:56 November 17, 2009 by lordkorner
Jesus,loose the suit dude,who does he think he his..James 007 Bond.
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