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Bundeswehr sends off Schneiderhan amid Afghanistan scandal

AFP/DPA/The Local · 4 Dec 2009, 09:15

Published: 04 Dec 2009 09:15 GMT+01:00

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The ceremony, known as a Zapfenstreich, also honoured a high-ranking Defence Ministry official, Peter Wichert, who resigned along with Schneiderhan.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg announced the 63-year-old general's resignation last week and promised there would be further investigation of the controversial September bombardment which took place in early September. NATO reports have placed the combined death toll of civilians and insurgents at more than 140.

Two days after Schneiderhan and Wichert stepped down, former Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung resigned from his new post as labour minister. Jung reportedly was also aware of the withheld information about the air strike ordered by Bundeswehr Col. Georg Klein.

Schneiderhan joined the Bundeswehr in 1966 and had served as chief of staff since 2002. Wichert had worked in the Defence Ministry since 1989.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Guttenberg told parliament that the air strike to destroy two fuel trucks hijacked by the Taliban was ‘not militarily appropriate’ and acknowledged it had been a mistake. But he also said that Klein had faced “warlike circumstances” when deciding to call the air strike, therefore he would not let him take the fall for the incident.

Story continues below…

German lawmakers voted on Wednesday to open a parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

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

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Your comments about this article

23:39 December 4, 2009 by KyleHawkins
Am I the only person here disturbed by the photo?
00:01 December 5, 2009 by wxman
I'm with you, KyleHawkins. It has that 1938ish look to it, nicht war?
18:53 December 5, 2009 by Henckel
Although the ceremony may look ominous, it nonetheless is a traditional German military ceremony. As one whose great-grandfather served in the Prussian army against France in 1870-71 (and his military background led to his appointment as a police officer in Manistee, Michigan, USA in 1887), I am glad to see such traditions preserved.
14:04 December 11, 2009 by scout1067
I am just glad to hear that zu Guttenberg is not going to hang Col. Klein out to dry over this air strike. It is bad enough that the Chief of Staff and former Defense Minister had to fall on their swords over this.
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