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Report says Bundeswehr lied during Kunduz strike

DDP/The Local · 23 Dec 2009, 10:02

Published: 23 Dec 2009 10:02 GMT+01:00

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Citing a confidential investigation report by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the paper reported that Bundeswehr Colonel Georg Klein’s communications officer falsely claimed the German troops had “enemy contact” to justify the September 4 strike.

According to the report, the officer, codenamed "Red Baron 21," was acting on instructions from Col. Georg Klein, who ordered the deadly air strike.

Red Baron 21 knowingly misled the flight control centre that was instructing the two F-15 fighters that carried out the attack, saying troops were in “immediate danger” in order “to make it possible for the mission to go ahead,” the ISAF report said, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau.

But no such enemy contact had taken place. Under the ISAF rules, such an air strike can only go ahead if troops are under fire or immediately threatened. But at the time of the attack, the nearest German troops were nearly eight kilometres away in the Kunduz Bundeswehr field camp. If the report is correct, then the Germans breached the regulations.

The victims of the air strike on two hijacked petrol tankers included many civilians, sparking a political maelstrom in Germany. Franz Josef Jung, who was Defence Minister at the time of the attack, was forced to resign along with Germany’s top soldier Wolfgang Schneiderhahn and senior Defence Ministry bureaucrat Peter Wichert after it emerged the government had falsely claimed no civilians were killed in the attack.

Now there is increasing pressure on Jung’s successor, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, along with Chancellor Angela Merkel, to explain the information debacle that followed the attack. The lower house of the parliament or Bundestag, will begin an inquiry into the government’s handling of the affair in January.

The latest revelations will increase the stakes further.

News magazine Der Spiegel recently reported that Col. Klein turned down the F-15 pilots’ request to do a “fly over” of the two stranded tankers, giving the people on the ground time to flee.

Story continues below…

This fact, along with the alleged false claim that German troops had had contact with the Taliban, would mean Col. Klein breached ISAF protocols on air strikes.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:44 December 23, 2009 by Celeon
Back when i heard about the airstrike's possible civilian casualties in the radio for the very first time (i believe that was the day after the strike) i said to a friend of mine that this is the beginning of the end of our Afghanistan mission.

Im growingly confident that this early predicition was right.
14:21 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
lol, "lied"??? (its called bureaucratic deception in favor of tactical/operation prudence)....whats the big deal? All we did was take a page out of Tampa's (SOCOM/JSOC) playbook!! ;-)
20:05 December 23, 2009 by Henckel
@Frenemy: That's right, the old proverb is that Truth is the first casualty of war.

Look at how some aspects of WW1, the Franoco-Prussian War, or even the American Civil War are reassessed and hotly debated even today as we try to learn, as Leopold von Ranke said, "what really happened."
23:53 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
Yes we are ALLIES...and don't ever forget it...I (we) are the best friends you bastards ever had!!!
01:31 December 24, 2009 by authun
Very classy, my Frenemy...
07:04 December 24, 2009 by wenddiver
So the ISAF has dumb rules of engagement, that cripple their operations, big news flash.

Define contact? By my definition contact is the visual confimation that you have the bad guys in target range. When the Talli-bums stole the tankers and they found the beheaded drivers, I think the standard for contact was met.

Additionally, the German Officer never claimed "Immediate Contact" or put in a "Danger Close" warning. That right there should have let any supporting Arm like Artillery, or Aircraft know that there were no German Infantry nearby.

Again, a bunch of Talli-bum bad guys and their wanna be scumbag supporters got 72 virgins each, the only ones who should be upset are the virgins. I say good work German Army, let's have a beer and discuss how we can clear up those "Call for Fire" mis-communications. Why cry over spilt terrorist.
08:25 December 24, 2009 by Frenemy
yeah. but actually wenddiver, that bring up another issue. Why was an F-15 used?? (this was at night right? ) Tactically speaking the ideal weapons platform should have been an AC-130 (...I know how the AF boys are kinda paranoid/resistant about specter/spooky ops during daytime)
15:30 December 24, 2009 by mixxim
Why do they not use Stukas any more?

Perhaps transporters like the Hercules could be used to drop scrapped VWs on the enemy. This would be cheaper than bombs and no less effective, (I guess it is thought the w-gs might try to rebuild them.
22:35 December 24, 2009 by Frenemy
because they make too much noise?!
04:55 December 26, 2009 by wenddiver
#16 @Frenemy- I would be very surpised to find they used a relativly old and very expensive air frame like the F-15 (I am assuming the Strike Eagle configuration) , are you sure it wasn't an F-16???

A Tanker or two by definition are point targets, as opposed to are targets like 147 Talliban standing around, so the missile of the F-16 was adequate for the job, with less crew risk. The Spectre is definetly a better area fire weaon.

More than likely though it came down to what was in the Stack. You get the call for fire and you have three weapons systems in the air F-16s, A-10 Warthogs and Spooky. If the F-16s are going to be leaving station to refuel then they are the logical choice, their ordanance is going out of the fights anyway, so use them now or use ammo on planes that will be around to another hour on station.

It may have come down to something as simple as some American Air Force Colonel with German Ancestory saying, Hey, the German's are finally getting a little action up in their sector, let's do something special for them, like an F-15 strike. Somebody says Cool and all the teenagers are standing around giving thumbs ups and the next thing you know, Boom F-15 rockets. I bet the German kids were probably going cool did you see that! We'll have to do that again sometime.

Probably sounded like a good idea at the time, impress the hell out of our German and British cousins.
08:05 December 26, 2009 by Frenemy
@wenddiver: lol, I think you could be right in your theory about platform choice... :-)

But you actually left out one major tactical option/asset(s): unmanned systems. In fact, to be perfectly honest, when I first heard about this I was almost certain that it was a drone strike (hellfire from an MQ9). I too was surprised to find out it was an Eagle (it certainly wasn't a Silent Eagle...the US is just selling that sh!t to other countries..."silent eagle" my @$$ !!!!)
18:18 January 3, 2010 by wenddiver
#20-The ISAF rules made the Europeans look weak, the Army was probably irrtated that the drivers were missing their heads, because of this perceived weakness, they were just trying to put the baboons back in their cages hard , so regular Afgans could live normal lives. BOOM, back in the cage/cave. Worked well.

#21 Keep watching, as frustration grows with the terror threat these may become the good new days. I personaly don't have any problem with any weapon the Military needs to defend us from this nasty death cult. They say they can get 72 virgins by dieing, I say we facilitate that in the quickest most cost efficient manner possible.
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