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G3 - GERMANY - Berlin asks NATO partners to keep quiet on deadly bombing

Released on 2012-08-08 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 1738709
Date 1970-01-01 01:00:00
Berlin asks NATO partners to keep quiet on deadly bombing

Published: 11 Sep 09 09:00 CET

The German government has issued a round of formal diplomatic protests to
fellow NATO countries, asking them to refrain from criticising a
controversial air strike called by the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan last

The Foreign Ministry told daily Financial Times Deutschland on Friday that
German ambassadors had issued the demarches in NATO allied countries. The
formal protests asked that officials wait until the NATO probe of the
incident had concluded before commenting on the deadly bombing.

In Paris the protest was not well-received, the paper said.

a**What should a minister say if such an attack kills 80 and there are
civilians among them? Nothing?a** an unnamed diplomat told the paper.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected a**prejudgementa** of
the air strike in a speech to parliament.

Merkel assured the bombing of two fuel trucks in the northern part of the
country last Friday would be thoroughly investigated amid concerns it
caused scores of civilian casualties.

She lashed out at widespread criticism by many of Germanya**s closes
allies before NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
completed its investigation of the incident.

a**I wona**t tolerate that either here at home or abroad,a** she said.

The German government and military have faced immense pressure in recent
days after Col. Georg Klein called in NATO air support to destroy two fuel
tankers hijacked by the Taliban near the Afghan city of Kunduz. Berlin at
first contended that only Islamist insurgents had been killed in the air
strike, but ISAF announced shortly after Merkel's speech that there had
been an unspecified number of civilian victims.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has described the strike as a
"big mistake" while Afghan President Hamid Karzai blasted the German
commander's call in an interview with French daily Le Figaro: "What an
error of judgement!"