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Merkel set to become target in Kunduz affair

The Local · 15 Dec 2009, 08:47

Published: 15 Dec 2009 08:47 GMT+01:00

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Merkel, who has remained largely silent on the matter since the air strike happened last September, would have to face the parliamentary committee examining the German-ordered attack and the government’s subsequent false denials that civilians had been killed.

“In the face of the explosiveness of the questions, we want to hear the Chancellor and the (Defence) Minister (Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg) right from the beginning, possibly in January,” said the Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary spokesman on defence, Rainer Arnold.

Guttenberg, who has recently borne the brunt of the opposition attacks, stepped up his counter-attack Monday night, telling broadcaster ARD he would begin a shake-up of the Defence Ministry.

“It cannot be that the minister has to ask a state secretary or chief of staff what he is allowed to say or, as the case may be, what he is allowed to see,” Guttenberg said.

Guttenberg at first said the September 4 air strike, which killed more than 100 people, was "military appropriate," but later changed his mind after receiving additional information that had supposedly been withheld by Defence Ministry officials as he took his post.

Guttenberg’s predecessor, Franz Josef Jung, who was defence minister at the time of the attack, stepped down from his new post of labour minister in response to intense political pressure.

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Last month, Guttenberg forced the German military's top general, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and a senior defence ministry official to step down over the affair.

But questions were subsequently raised over how much Guttenberg himself knew and the reasons for the sacking of the officials.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:23 December 15, 2009 by Portnoy
This woman has done so little and been so ineffective as chancellor(in) that I would be amazed to hear she actually had the wherewithall to be even remotely involved in this. She didn't know about it until Der Spiegel reported on it months later.
11:43 December 15, 2009 by Frenemy
@Portnoy: whatever dude. Angie put the "man" back in GerMANy. (you know there is a societal problem when a gal like Frau Merkel has more testicular fortitude (willing to buck up and make the tough/necessary calls, regardless of their political popularity) than the average German male ...who, statistically speaking, is either geriatric or dangerously pacifist (vis-a-vis national interests)....probably sitting around b!tching and moaning about the already measly cost of German higher-education. (the political perspective of the majority of my compatriots makes me sad for my country....)
16:19 December 15, 2009 by mixxim
I guess she will survive it! She is not a baby. Sadly those on the spot who had to make instant decisions did not. I am glad that at least the Taliban and their supporters didn't either.....
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