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Klein unlikely to be disciplined over air strike

DDP/The Local · 5 May 2010, 08:07

Published: 05 May 2010 08:07 GMT+02:00

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“That is not on the agenda,” parliamentary liaison to the Defence Ministry Christian Schmidt told daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday.

The spokesperson for Klein’s Leipzig-based division, Lieutenant Colonel Christoph von Löwenstern told the paper: “I don’t anticipate it.”

In September 2009, an air strike on two petrol tankers hijacked by the Taliban ordered by Klein killed an estimated 142 people in Afghanistan’s Kunduz region, among them dozens of civilians.

But last month prosecutors decided to drop a criminal investigation into Klein’s actions, leading conservative politicians to demand an end to the parliamentary inquiry into the affair as well. The Karlsruhe-based prosecutors’ office announced Klein had broken neither German nor international law because he had every reason to assume only insurgents were around the hijacked tankers, not civilians.

According to one member of the inquiry, the situation is unsettled and the Bundeswehr is allegedly looking for ways “not to carry out proceedings.”

Story continues below…

But Green party parliamentarian Tom Koenigs told the paper that a disciplinary procedure should be “the minimum” that Klein faces for ordering the deadly air strike.

Meanwhile military inspector Werner Freers, who is in charge of the case, told the paper the case is still under review.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:11 May 5, 2010 by GermanyBert
He was doing his job and should not be prosecuted. I believe he will be mentally tormented the rest of his life because of this and that is punishment enough.
14:52 May 5, 2010 by AirForceGuy
He made a rational and sound decision based upon the information he had at the time; colateral damage happens in the 'fog of war'. He would have regretted it more if later these 2 tanker trucks were used against the population or allied troops by the Taliban.
18:32 May 5, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Well, I would say that's about the bloody least they could do, considering that they already, effectively, ended his carrier.
18:59 May 5, 2010 by Henckel
Yes, if he hadn't ordered the strike and the trucks had been used in a suicide attack against NATO forces, then he would have been castigated by politicians and the media for not heading off the menace by ordering the airstrike.

There are often gray areas in war. My great-great-grandfather was serving in the Prussian army against the French when, in January 1871, his division captured a battalion of French National Guards near Rouen. Owing to the haziness of the definition of whether these were legitimate or irregular troops, the local commander decided they were irregulars and had the entire battalion shot. Today that would be a war crime, but in 1871 it was merely passed over as an incident of war.
22:40 May 5, 2010 by wxman
"Colonel Georg Klein, the Bundeswehr officer who ordered a deadly bombardment..." What a stupid statement. Bombardments, by definition, are intended to be deadly. Plus, civilians in a war zone are aware that it's indeed a war zone. They need to put the greatest distance between themselves and the combatants. If not, what happens is their own fault. It's like idiots who live on the coast, but refuse to evacuate during a hurricane warning.
12:35 May 6, 2010 by scout1067
It is agreat thing that he will not face punishment or discipline for making the right choice in combat. unfortunately their are people who consistently refuse to believe that real combat is like Halo or Call of Duty. In a real war innocent people die sometimes too, despite that not being the intent. Col. Klein did the militarily correct thing, he should have nothing on his conscience to make him worry or be tormented about anyway.
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