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Berlin to compensate Afghan air strike victims

AFP/The Local · 7 Dec 2009, 16:11

Published: 07 Dec 2009 16:11 GMT+01:00

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The Defence Ministry said it was in contact with a lawyer for victims of the September raid on two fuel trucks near Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Up to 142 people were killed, reportedly including dozens of civilians, in the NATO bombardment.

"We will begin talks with (German-Afghan attorney Karim Popal) about how the compensation claims will be met," a ministry spokesman told a regular government news conference, adding that Berlin hoped to avoid a court battle.

Popal is demanding payouts from the German military for 78 families of Afghan casualties. He says there were 179 civilian victims including 137 dead, 20 injured and 22 missing, leaving 91 women as widows and 163 children as orphans.

According to Popal, five further victims were members of the radical Taliban, which the defence ministry says the strike had targeted.

The ministry spokesman said an investigation into the exact toll of the raid was ongoing but added that Berlin would not try "to drive down the number of civilian victims as low as possible."

The ministry must also determine whether there are other affected families who are not represented by Popal, he said.

Popal welcomed the government's cooperation and confirmed he had received a fax from the Defence Ministry stating it would deal with the claims "in an unbureaucratic manner and quickly."

The raid has provoked an anguished debate in Germany, where polls show the Afghan deployment is deeply unpopular.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Thursday he believed the strike had been "militarily inappropriate," reversing an earlier assessment of the air strike.

His predecessor Franz Josef Jung, in office at the time of the raid, stepped down from his new position as labour minister last month because he had previously insisted "only Taliban terrorists" died in the attack.

Armed forces chief of staff General Wolfgang Schneiderhan and another senior Defence Ministry official also resigned over the affair.

Story continues below…

Der Spiegel magazine reported this weekend that the US fighter pilots called in by German Col. Georg Klein for air support questioned their orders several times before attacking.

Radio communication between the F-15 pilot with the call sign ‘Dude’ and the Germans on the ground showed that the Americans wanted to carry out not just one or two low flying passes as warnings but five.

But Klein and his forward air controller with the call sign ‘Red Baron,’ commanding the air strike from a German base, overruled the pilots and ordered an attack.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:45 December 7, 2009 by Wabit
So the score at half time: Taliban "1" ...... Guttenburg "0" Watch this space and see it all unravel in the 2010 War Games. But don't hold your breath!
20:25 December 7, 2009 by Major B
Well this is the German government's business but those families are owed nothing. They knew the tanker was highjacked and went to those trucks at their own risk. Just watch the Afhgans that rush in line for this handout. Next, the Taliban kidnaps an army patrol and demands ransom, Somali pirate style. They will regret the Euros paid to those criminals.
20:43 December 7, 2009 by Wabit
I agree with you Major B......

Criminals is a correct description for these people........

Yet the greed of Politics has an even uglier face!!!

I am unable to explain why I despise them so much??
03:17 December 8, 2009 by Davey-jo
Just how do you compensate people for blowing them off the face of the earth?

Perhaps Merkel could self-indict as war criminal? It won't happen but it would help.
09:56 December 8, 2009 by Ectherion
Well, I have always complain about the high amount of taxes in Germany, but just to think that the €20000 I have paid this year will be use to compensate this guys!!! I mean, there is a war, they are with the enemy, they were to the middle of the fire-zone, toghether withthe taliban, to steal some gas from NATO and now Germany will pay there family more money they have ever seen in live... please!!!
20:31 December 8, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Major B you finally said something we agree on, now I know your not a total marxist.
20:59 December 8, 2009 by Major B
@ reich1900: Most of us agree with you. Yes the Taliban is the problem. If I were a Bundeswehr toop in the Kunduz I would have had enough. The Bundeswehr went there peaceably in 2001 - 2002 with the pure intention of helping -- that's a fact. Didn't even need protective gear at first. The Taliban is trying to do the the Germans what Al Quaeda did to the Spanish in Iraq, who got punked. They tried to influence the German elections, like Al Quaeda did in the Spanish elections, demanding that Germany pull out. Yet the German people stood firm in September 2009. Now the German govmt is trying to pacify the situation by giving a monetary bailout to the victims, which will undoubtedly grow from tribesmen not remotely connected to the airstrike. And the Taliban will take this good faith gesture with contempt, having decided(the Taliban, not me) that the Germans are weak(unlike in the past) and can be pushed around. I'm guessing Col Klein got tired of this crap and showed them another side of the Teutons. Many have written eloquently in other articles about the "second guessing" politicians who make decisions from their comfortable offices far away from the combat. That is what I meant Frenemy on post # 2 about backing the troops. It is time for the German govmt to take the constraints off the Bundeswehr or be prepared for increased pressure from the Taliban, who will be scurrying away from the surge of forces in the South.
14:06 December 9, 2009 by Frenemy
hmmm, what?! lol, I didn't say sh!t on this thread dude...(u expecting an argument from me about this??!!)

a number of ppl were undeservedly pwned in this whole fiasco. but seriously, I think you would agree that Germany could use a little support from across the pond (and it has definitely not been forthcoming...in fact, quite the opposite. That dickhead f-15 pilot needs to be sent to leavenworth for having a big stupid mouth...)

On a side note, I wonder what the monetary compensation would be in Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc....(?)
17:42 December 9, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Frenemy none of these guys deserve to be prosecuted, and your an idiot to call the pilot a dickhead, because you think he opened his mouth. If you knew anything you would know that this guy didn't have to say anything, beleive me his superior's knew just as much about what happend on that mission as he did before he even landed the the plane. When I was in iraq we had cobra's over our heads within minutes of a fire fight. Everything that goes on and exspecially on an f-15 is well monitord. Again it had nothing to do with him being a rat. I know you never been in the military, but if you would quit watching sponge bob sqare pants and quit reading comic books you might know these things. Start watching the regular news and reading educated literature such as a non fiction book, you might then get a bit smarter. Oh and reading the news part of a daily newspaper also helps, and i'm not taliking about the sports page. By the way from the nature of your words would I be correct to assume you been in the penitenary, or the joint as you more primitive type describe it, or is that you come from a line of people who tend end up there.
11:00 December 10, 2009 by Frenemy
@lordwilliams629: HAHAHAHAHA....HAHA....lol (you, my friend, are the one who doesn't know what he is talking about. (Your ill-founded assertions are SO far from the truth, you have no idea....but thanks for providing my morning comical entertainment. definitely brightened up my day)

u had cobras on station within minutes?? where?! maybe 2 clicks outside the green zone. I've experienced more than 30min delays to get hogs to provide CAS in forward op AOs....

greetings from "the joint"! :-P
20:26 December 10, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Wait a minute Frenemy you claim you were in the military, yet you make a statement accusing this pilot of telling on people for things that his superiors would have already known before he even landed his F-15. The biggest point of your statement was that the pilot was a rat in other words he ratted on the germans, your full of s..t, if you where in the military and in iraq you would know this, and you would not have made a statement cutting down a BROTHER IN ARMS. And further more your 30 minute estimation and my 10 minute estimation is just that an eastimation from my experience, yet could be open for debate with other people like me that was there,(comparing apples and organes)although i'm also sure that your facts are something you googled from another person's prospective. but where ever you picked up on that proves what my bigger point was and that is afghnistan just like iraq, people know where your at and whats going on, just like that plane, you would be stupid to think otherwise, as I think you are, when you beleive this pilot told on these germans. Keep this in mind as well Frenemy, a persons words are like a finger print it tells who they are and your words tell me your a bull sh..ter.

And when you tell me that my words are far from the truth, I would only have to say that the only truth your words tell me is that again your a bull sh..iter. Oh and one other thing I took note of, you made the comment about not getting enough support from across the pond meaning america, if you really was in iraq or afghanistan you more than likely would know that one of the biggest complaints among american soldiers is tnot getting enough support from other country's that have troops there, which further puts your claims into question, in fact my brother just got back from afghanistan 2 months ago and that was in fact one of his complaints.
23:43 December 10, 2009 by Frenemy
You seriously wanna pursue this?! Ask around, I am 100% legit. (and trust me buddy, you don't wanna compare brain-pans with me. Yeah, a persons words ARE like a fingerprint. And yours say uneducated (possibly eastern European, or just a dumbass grunt) a$$clown.

1) Not once have I EVER claimed to be in the military or mentioned my geographic location. I'm definitely no "brother in arms" (in fact DoD tends to HATE my "type of people").

2) Take an English course. Your grammar is worse than horrendous!
13:59 December 11, 2009 by scout1067
It is called a war. If the people had not run to get free gas from the Taliban after the trucks got stuck they would be fine. Lesson # 1, if you hang around near the bad guys bad things happen. I am amazed that this is a huge deal, no way I would want to be in German military with all the armchair quarterbacks telling them how to fight after the fact. Lefty squeamishness means every German soldier deployed is at risk because any decision he makes in the heat of combat is subject to hindsight. What a way to fight a war.
21:00 December 11, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Frenemy after rereading your 30 analogy I relized your not refering to being in a combat zone, you where being Bozo fair enough you got me on that one. But in the same token I'm also glad to know that a piece of trash like you never served in the same army I did. And as far as your geographic location I don't think ever did say where you live. Anyway I don't live in eastern europe, I live in a town called Dixon Illinios, we have a state prison in our home town, never know maybe your daddy's there. You asked me if I seriously wanna pursue this, BRING IT ON BOY im game for anything. One thing that very much interest me what type of person are claiming to be that the DoD tends to hate, do you feel your that important in the world, or maybe you only feel that way over bottle a $2.00 bottle of old E.
21:23 December 11, 2009 by Frenemy
....I'm the type that tags along on (Tampa-ordered) ops...and the type that would gladly school you on CQB tactics if I ever met you in a dark alley ;-)
19:49 December 12, 2009 by lordwilliams629
You know something frenemy I was excited about seeing your next message, I was even impressed with your negative comment on my grammer, i'm college educated yet I still type like a 3rd grader, so therefore I thought that you just might be a worthy opponent. But after looking at your latest comment made me relize what I thought from the start, your still an idiot who more than likely comes from a family of hillbillies, and when I say hillbillies i'm not talking about the good people of the south. I'm talking about pure white trailer trash, that only use's a refrigerator for keeping the beer cold, and looks at their skin as something to draw tattoos on. Oh and the dark alley, why just a dark alley, we can meet anywhere. "Brain pan" yea you sound more like the pan itself.
20:17 December 12, 2009 by Frenemy
......I give up!
22:13 December 12, 2009 by lordwilliams629
That's what I thought all talk!
03:40 December 13, 2009 by Frenemy
I'm very...SAD...that you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. But I don't have any VA wall-based astral ambitions, so this conversation (flamewar) ends here.
15:59 December 16, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Sorry I didn't have time to respond to your latest comment Frenemy, i've been finishing up my final exams for this semester. Anyway your right I dont have a clue as to everything your talking about, because your words sound like that of a mad man. One minute your cutting down a fellow american(pilot), next minute your saying things that make you sound like your some kind of mercenary, total fantasy. So we move on, I now expose you for who you are, that is a person who suffers from alcohol induced rage, as well as a person who lives in a world of fantasy due to your madness. You know first I took you as just another disloyal american who needed to be put in his place, but again after reading many of your words I come to relize I am responding to a person who sadly suffers from total insanity.
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