German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday rejected as “unacceptable” criticisms abroad of last Friday’s NATO air strike in Kundus, in northern Afghanistan ordered by a German commander and called upon her country’s partners to wait for the outcome of an on-going investigation to make their comments.
“I refuse to accept any premature judgements from whoever it comes, whether at home or abroad,” Merkel told ‘Bundestag´, the lower house of Parliament, in a government declaration on the air strike on two fuel trucks hijacked by the Taliban in which a number of civilians reportedly lost their lives.
The chancellor was responding to criticisms in the US and in the European Union as well as from German opposition parties that the air attack was unnecessary.
The Supreme Commander of the NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan General Stanley McCrystal held the commander of the German military base in Kundus Col Georg Klein, who called in the air strike, responsible for civilian casualties.
Gen McCrystal claimed that Col Klein had ordered the air strike without sufficiently verifying that civilians were in the area and German troops also failed to secure the area soon after the incident to prevent the Taliban from making false claims of civilian casualties.
The NATO said in a statement that there were also civilian casualties, but could not give any number as the incident is still being investigated.