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A rift between the US and Germany over the conduct of the war in Afghanistan widened today as both countries sought to shift blame over a botched bombing raid that led to scores of civilians being killed.
Berlin defended the raid as “militarily necessary” to protect German troops, even though it went against the express orders of the new US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, to safeguard civilians…
The strike was called in by a senior German officer. The German government said the officer feared two hijacked oil tankers, stuck in a riverbed, were to be used for a suicide bombing of the German base at Kunduz, in the north of the country.
While the US has expressed most of its criticism in private, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, did not hold back today, siding with the US in condemning the German decision.
“What an error of judgment! More than 90 dead all because of a simple lorry that was, moreover, immobilised in a riverbed. Why didn’t they send in ground troops to recover the fuel tank? … General McChrystal telephoned me to apologise and to say that he himself hadn’t given the order to attack,” Karzai said, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The folks on the ground aren’t especially concerned with which uniform was worn by whom – when they’re burying their dead.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has appointed a Canadian officer to lead a formal investigation into a NATO airstrike that killed at least 90 people.
Maj. Gen. C.S. Sullivan, who serves as the air component element director and deputy director of joint operations for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, known as ISAF, will lead the probe…
The Taliban gave villagers the go-ahead to drain the tankers carrying fuel earmarked for ISAF after they became stuck in the mud when the militants tried to drive them through the Kunduz River. The military thought there were no civilians near the trucks at the time of the attack, ISAF Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said last Friday.
So, no observers anywhere near the scene? No heavy lenses eye-in-the-sky reconnaissance? The German ground commander had enough authority to overrule everyone in the Air Force?