September 2, 2010 – September 4, 2010 will mark one year since the German-ordered bombing of two oil tankers in Kunduz, Afghanistan which killed 142 Afghani civilians. The incident brought home the reality of participating in an armed-occupation to the German public and effectively changed the course of German popular opinion against the continued occupation of Afghanistan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in September 2009, promised a full investigation into the incident and made a personal commitment to the German people that she would make and see that happen.
Now, one year after the incident here is a synopsis of what has ensued:
The German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg wanted all documents relating to this incident declassified and made available to the German public, this has still not happened. After a four-month internal investigation, the inspector general of the German armed forces concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify a court martial of anyone involved, so the head of mission command, who ordered the erroneous air strike and the German press officer, who originally described the air strike as a “successful mission against insurgents in the Kunduz area”, still have their jobs.
One German diplomat responded to this finding by saying that “if this attempt to clear up the case is logical and reasonable then cows will be flying soon.”
There are dozens of documented reports which remain classified within the German military establishment, yet fully expose the scope of the catastrophe as it was unleashed on the Afghani villagers. Recorded telephone calls between villagers giving eye-witness accounts of the scope of the death and destruction make it clear that despite the tailored and convoluted reports issued by the German defense ministry, there was almost immediate awareness that the bombing mission had been ordered on non-hostile targets and the result was German responsibility for large-scale Afghani civilian death.
-As long as the mistakes of the past still not been accounted for or redressed, the Afghani people seem doomed to keep on reliving the same mistakes of the foreign occupiers over and over again. The latest incident involving the killing of innocent civilians at the hands of NATO forces occurred Thursday morning in the Rostaq district where between 10 and 14 Afghanistan election workers were killed in a NATO bombing raid.
According to a NATO spokesperson the “precision air strike” had hit a militant`s vehicle. The Afghani Provincial Governor told a very different story. The Governor, Mr.Taqwa, told the BBC that there is “not a single anti-government member in the area. Without any co-ordination, without informing provisional authorities, (NATO) attacked, on their own, civilian people who were in a campaign convoy.”
These bombing raids by NATO, where their members feel somehow bestowed with a divine right to continually prioritize their own agenda over the responsibility to protect civilian life are precisely why the majority of Afghani civilians want NATO out of the country today. When NATO actions place civilian life in danger and in some cases, as this one, take the lives of innocent civilians who are, in fact, committed to the democratic integration of Afghanistan, it shows that NATO does not have the maturity needed to be regarded as a credible, responsible representative of the Afghani people. In fact, it is actions such as this one and the failure to learn from the mistakes of the past which position NATO as an enemy of the Afghani people.
President Karzai`s office strongly condemned the NATO bombardment, stopping just short of labeling the NATO actions as terrorism.
“Air bombardments in the villages of Afghanistan will only end up killing civilians and will not be effective in the fight against terrorism.”
-The latest NATO incident involving the death of innocent civilians occurred only hours before President Karzai was scheduled to meet with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The US Defense Secretary had arrived in Kabul to meet with Karzai and top NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus. Gates also hoped to meet with US soldiers, but the meat of his message was that Afghanis must take the lead on policing the country to tackle crime and corruption. It is expected that President Karzai pointed out the difficulties involved with Afghanis assuming responsibility for the welfare of the state when NATO and other foreigners are the greatest detriment to the welfare of the state and its citizens.
-Gates’ arrival coincided not only with the latest incident of NATO responsibility for Afghani civilian deaths, the Defense Secretary also arrived amid renewed allegations of official corruption. The resignation this week of two Afghani bank officials from the country`s top private bank have stimulated fears of a confidence crisis that threatens a liquidity-grab by Afghani citizens who may have lost confidence in their banking system.
Canada’s Role in Afghanistan
-The 151st Canadian died in Afghanistan this past week, 148 have been soldiers, as Sgt. James McNeil from Glace Bay N.S, stepped on a land mine while on patrol in Kandahar.
The Weekly Update into the Afghanistan Situation and Canada’s Role in Afghanistan are published every Thursday at www.jeeroburkhan.wordpress.com