Deadly Afghanistan air strike killed 142
The controversial bombing in the province of Kunduz on September 4 was ordered by a German colonel to take out two stolen fuel trucks.
In the aftermath of the strike, German authorities claimed there had been no civilian casualties.
But NATO sources say the death toll reached 142.
Now both top German general Wolfgang Schneiderhan and secretary of state – equivalent to a deputy minister – Peter Wichert are out of their jobs having taken responsibility for the disastrous bombing.
For days after the attack, then-Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung claimed there had been no civilian casualties.
But he must have known better, according to documentation he would have had access to have had at the time. Was the truth hidden?
Top secret videos and an up-till-now secret army report seemingly prove that Jung’s Ministry from the outset had clear knowledge of civilian casualties as well as the unclear intelligence before the strike.
The previously-unseen military police report was consciously held back from the relevant public prosecutor’s office, according to BILD information.
A 42-document report, a copy of which BILD has exclusive access to, records at which point information about the civilian victims was sent from the German regional command in Masar-i-Sharif to Bundeswehr Operations Command in Potsdam, Germany.
Even though the information gives a completely different picture to what was released, Minister Jung repeatedly claimed in interviews and press conferences that “mainly Taliban terrorists” were hit.
In an interview with ‘BILD am SONNTAG’ on September 6 – two days after the air strike –then-Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said: “According to all the information I currently have, only Taliban terrorists were killed in the operation carried out by US aircraft.”
BUT – on the evening of September 4, just a few hours after the air strike, German regional command in Masar-i-Sharif sent clear reports that there had been civilian casualties, a fact stated by the military police in document 32 of the report.
According to the report, there were “six patients between ten and 20 years old” at the hospital in Kunduz – so even children had been affected by the bombing.
Regional Command also reported two teenage-sized bodies in the hospital.
A German chief physician at Regional Command wrote in a report submitted to Potsdam on the evening of September 4, first of a child and later of two boys “about 14 years old” with “open breakage” and “shrapnel” wounds.
And in answer to its NATO allies, German Regional Command said on the evening of September 4 that before the air strike, Taliban fighters had stormed a mosque and “forced several villagers to help use tractors to salvage petrol. 14 of them have since disappeared.”
In simple terms – not everyone with the tankers were Taliban – and Jung’s commanders knew it!
On September 8, Jung showed his support in the German Bundestag parliament for Colonel Georg Klein, who had ordered the air strike: “He had clear intelligence indicating that those involved were exclusively enemies of the state.”
HOWEVER – at the time, Jung’s Ministry was well aware that Colonel Klein had made his decision based on unclear video footage and statements made by an Afghan informant who had not been near the fuel lorries.
After reviewing the video footage, NATO released a statement claiming that it would have been impossible for Colonel Klein “to confirm the informant’s information based on the footage.”
The report of NATO’s ‘Initial Action Team’ (document 33 of the Military Police report) was presented to Jung’s Ministry.
Even larger doubts exist over the credibility of the informant’s statements, which lead to Colonel Klein’s decision to go ahead with the bombing.
It was reported by Brigade General Jörg Vollmer, commander of the German troops in Afghanistan and Klein’s boss, on the evening of September 4 to the Bundeswehr Operations Command (document 22) that the informant couldn’t see the fuel lorries.
His report said: “The contact was near the incident without line-of-sight, but on the phone with the INS.”
Jung’s Ministry also had statements from Colonel Klein, showing his decision was based on speculation: “A sand bank in a river is such an unusual place, that the people there must have been insurgents” – Klein’s explanation from September 4.
In plain language – at the time of his speech in front of the Bundestag, Jung must have known that the Colonel had no concrete evidence.
The military police report evaluates the events from September 4 as critical, and states that the clarification of the unanswered questions and the possible failures are of particular importance, “as the evaluation of the information to hand at the PRT (German military police base) in Kunduz made it clear that the air strike would and did lead to many dead and injured, and that the events prior to and after the incident was not adequately handled.”
In: Afghanistan, Middle East
Tags: Bundeswehr, Airstrike, America, F-14, Fuel, Truck, Afghanistan, Kundus, Taliban, Terrorist, Civilians, Luftangriff,
Marked as: repost
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