Shooting prompts calls for Germans to leave Afghanistan

Other News Materials 30 August 2008 18:53 (UTC +04:00)

A tragic incident in which German soldiers shot dead three Afghan civilian occupants of a car prompted calls in Germany Saturday to pull German troops out of Afghanistan.

German prosecutors have begun an inquiry to establish whether the soldiers who opened fire Thursday evening were culpable in any way. The prosecutors from near Berlin said they had sent a request to the Justice Ministry in Kabul that it assist the investigation.

Defence officials said German troops had been nervous at the time after one of them had been killed by a suicide bomber this week.

A German news website, Spiegel Online, quoted German officers saying a warning had been circulated that an explosive-packed vehicle would be used to attack German troops Thursday evening.

The German armed forces said a woman and two children were killed and two children injured when their car accelerated away from a checkpoint at Karuti near Kunduz. The checkpoint was manned by Afghan police and several of their German military-police trainers.

Germans in a Dingo armoured car opened fire at the moving car from a distance of about 100 metres.

A senior Green who is hostile to the military presence, Hans- Christian Stroebele, and the Left Party, which voted against the deployment in the first place, said in Berlin the troops should come home.

The Left caucus leader, Gregor Gysi, said in a newspaper interview he feared Germany would become "bogged down in a dirty war that does not combat terrorism but creates a new inclination to violence."

Bernhard Gertz, who heads the armed forces association, a group that functions as a quasi trade union for German soldiers, said in an interview with the Sunday newspaper BZ am Sonntag that Germany should increase its police training force 10-fold from 200 to 2,000.

But the German Police Union GdP disagreed, with a spokesman saying it saw no point in sending any German police to Afghanistan at all, dpa reported.