Relatives of Kunduz bomb victims to sue

A lawyer representing 74 relatives of those killed in an airstrike ordered by a German colonel in Afghanistan two years ago, announced Thursday that they would be seeking damages from the German government.

Relatives of Kunduz bomb victims to sue
Lawyer representing Kunduz relatives Karim Popal, Photo: DPA

The Berlin lawyer Karim Popal said he would be submitting a lawsuit to a court in Bonn on Monday, since this is where the headquarters of the German Defence Ministry is located. He said his clients would be suing for damages of €23,000 per death in the airstrike.

On September 4, 2009 Colonel Georg Klein ordered the bombing of two oil trucks hijacked by the Taliban in the Kunduz region of Afghanistan. The trucks had apparently become stuck and been abandoned by the insurgents. It is thought that over 100 civilians were nearby when the trucks were bombed.

Popal is accusing Klein of dereliction of duty and the German government of not offering adequate compensation for the injured and the relatives of the victims. He says the compensation payment of €3,500 per family was taken as an insult by the Kunduz population.

He also says the families never received the money because the German government distributed it via various property owners and warlords in the area.

Hans-Christian Ströbele, prominent Green party MP, lawyer and outspoken critic of Germany’s military operation in Afghanistan, said he supported the lawsuit’s aim, but said it would be a problematic case.

Ströbele it would be difficult to prove that relatives had been killed in that particular incident. He added that Afghanistan is in the middle of a war, and it was up for legal debate whether civilians are entitled to demand compensation for deaths and suffering.

The political fallout from the bombing cost the jobs of then Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung, and as well the head of the German army Wolfgang Schneiderhahn.

DAPD/The Local/bk

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