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Ministry withheld Kunduz reports from Merkel

The Local · 16 Dec 2009, 11:36

Published: 16 Dec 2009 08:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2009 11:36 GMT+01:00

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According to the paper, the Chancellery still did not have access to the first International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) report or that of Col. Georg Klein – the commander who ordered the air strike – four days after the incident on September 8 when Merkel had to issue a statement.

On that day she said: “It will not be possible to clarify the details this morning.”

The reports were apparently delivered to the Defence Ministry on September 6, but not delivered to Merkel until the 10th, the paper said. The first ISAF “Initial Action Report” refers to “a large degree of certainty that some civilians were also killed or injured.” Meanwhile the Defence Ministry declined to acknowledge civilian deaths.

Merkel’s office complained of the lack of information and asked for the reports, the paper said. One email reportedly said that Defence Ministry official Peter Wichert – who has since resigned from his post over the scandal – was withholding the documents.

Germany’s top military's top general, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, was also forced to step down as the scandal unravelled. Franz Josef Jung, who had been defence minister at the time of the attack, also stepped down from his new post of labour minister following intense political pressure.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg this week also ruled out resigning amidst accusations that he lied about what information was available to him following the deadly air strike.

But Schneiderhan told weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday Guttenberg was being openly deceitful when saying defence officials had purposely misled him about the air strike by withholding information.

“Regarding the afternoon of the 25th, he’s not telling the truth,” Schneiderhan said, referring to the day in November when he was relieved from his duties. “Withheld to me has the air of intent and there was no intent,” he said. “I find it at this point slanderous.”

The former general then accused Guttenberg of being known for hastily formulating his opinions. “But this here is huge escalation. It’s not simply unpleasant, it’s untrue,” he said.

According to this week’s edition of Stern magazine, Klein actively hindered the investigation of the air strike. Citing secret Bundeswehr documents, the magazine reported that the colonel told German investigators from the regional command at Mazari Sharif that they were “not wanted at the scene” the day after the air strike.

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By the time they arrived, all human remains had been removed by the victims’ relatives, making it difficult to determine if there had been civilian casualties.

Stern also reported that Klein supposedly told his subordinates at the base in Kunduz not to cooperate with the investigation into the incident and that information should be given “only upon approval” by the colonel.

Meanwhile news agency DPA reported on Wednesday that Klein was under the impression from the BND intelligence service and the KSK special forces that the fuel trucks he ordered destroyed would be used in an attack on a German base. The German government was allegedly aware that the two entities had reportedly been researching the Taliban plans for several weeks.

A parliamentary committee has been created to shed light on the incident after the new year begins.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:08 December 16, 2009 by parker7usa
This is why Politicians should not run Wars. That's why we have the Military. I especially love it when a Politician has never been in the Military or faught in a conflict ... NOT. If you have not been in a fox hole with bullets flying by your head, you cannot possibly know what it is like to be shot at.
11:52 December 16, 2009 by LancashireLad
Without politicians there would not be wars. The problem is that the military must answer to the government which finances and "controls" them. The problem in this instance hinges on how much the military were answering to the government.
16:28 December 16, 2009 by Frenemy
No. Without PEOPLE, there would not be wars. Its nature. And forget the animal kingdom, just look at the conflict in your average family (husband-wife, sibling strife, etc) and extrapolate to an international level...
19:59 December 16, 2009 by Henckel
It's the old question of military versus political control of the military. Look at it this way: the war of 1939-45 was launched by psychotic civilian leaders with a compliant German military wishing revenge for 1918. By contrast, when Germany was ruled by an emperor who was a soldier from childhood, and practically all politicians were as a prerequisite reserve officers, Germany was at peace from 1871 until war was forced upon her in 1914. And until 1918 all war ministers were generals, not civilians. There may not be an actual correlation, but these are facts
00:56 December 17, 2009 by Wim van Couveren
For Merkel the "honey-moon" is now definitely over.

As Tony Blair is now finding out -to his cost -in the UK, when you want to wage war make sure you know what you are doing and have the population behind you.

The German people do not support this war .Frau Merkel will pay the price for willingly becoming a pawn in a very large game over which she has no control.

If she is not careful at some later point, she may end up in the Hague along with Tony Blair and George W Stupid.
20:21 December 18, 2009 by Frenemy
1) You cannot expect every tom-dick-and harry in the general population to have to have a university degree in international relations (most--if they have ever even read a single book in their entire lives--have never cracked the binding on anything non-fiction longer than 300 pages).

2) Why are some people incapable of grasping the notion that even if YOU personally adhere to the philosophy of "live and let live, etc"....there are STILL people out there that would gladly kill you on sight?! (and when you/your family (lambs) are having a panic attack and dialing 911, 999, or 112....the very people (lions) that will come save you are the ones you so willingly castigate at every opportunity)
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