Afghan Air Strike: Merkel Hits Back At Critics / Kunduz Governor Praises German Forces
10:40 PM, Sep 8, 2009 • By ULF GARTZKE
Friday's deadly air strike on two Taliban-hijacked tanker trucks, which was called in by German Bundeswehr forces and carried out by USAF fighter jets, has prompted a sudden barrage of domestic and international criticism vis-Ã -vis Berlin's handling of this particular incident and, by implication, the Afghan mission in general. At a press conference in Berlin Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was unusually blunt in hitting back at her critics -- including key NATO allies like the United States and France -- and made it clear that she opposes making premature judgments and jumping to conclusions before all results of the on-going military investigation into potential civilian casualties, etc. are known. Just to recap, the Bundeswehr had called in the night-time air strikes after a source said that the Taliban would use the hijacked tankers in suicide attack on the nearby German military base in northern Afghanistan's Kunduz region.
In an interesting development, SPIEGEL Online just published an interview with Kunduz governor Mohammed Omar who strongly defended the Bundeswehr's actions. Governor Omar singled out the German top commander in Kunduz, Col. Georg Klein, by stating that he "made the right decision at the right time and acted in a very level-headed way" when calling in the U.S. airstrike.