Investigators working on the June 2 roadside bomb attack on a Bundeswehr armoured vehicle which killed a German soldier and left five others injured, some seriously, think it was a trap set with collusion of Afghan officials.
The Bild newspaper said on Thursday it had seen Defence Ministry documents which show that those in the German Afghanistan headquarters in Mazar-e-Sarif were ‘disappointed' by the Afghan intelligence service, the NDS. Senior members of the NDS had known about the impending attack but had not warned the Germans, the paper said.
One soldier involved told the paper, “We believed we could trust them to a certain extent.”
The paper said that investigators were trying to untangle why the Afghan police reported a hidden bomb to the German forces, but gave the wrong location – by about a kilometre.
“The Afghans deliberately told us of a large explosive device, so that we would send our armoured division. They wanted the propaganda success of getting one of our Marders,” one Bundeswehr investigator told the paper, referring to the heavy armoured vehicle destroyed in the explosion.
Shortly after the attack, which completely destroyed the vehicle and left a 23-year-old soldier dead and five others injured, Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière said it was an indication of the Taliban's weakness in the region that it was having to resort to such tactics.
He said the Taliban had lost ground and that the German strategy was correct.
But the documents show that this was not correct and that the Taliban are still, “present as before,” and have simply changed their strategy.
They rate the chances of an increase in bomb attacks on the Germans as ‘probable', with, “the main threat presumably coming from IEDs [improvised explosive devices].”
The Bild also said it had information that the German commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Markus Kneip, had been told of a plan for, “an attack on a top official in Takhar in the coming 24 to 48 hours,” but had ignored the warning. Kneip was subsequently injured in a bomb attack on the governor's palace in Takhar on May 28. The explosion killed several Afghan officials, as well as one of Kneip's bodyguards and a close aides.
"We are investigating, but we know nothing about this," a spokesman for the Bundeswehr told The Local on Thursday.
"The Bild newspaper has got hold of some documents and they approached us. But the idea that the NDS should have known about the attack is something we know nothing about.”