Pressure is mounting for Germany’s former defence minister, Franz Josef Jung to resign from the government over last September’s controversial Afghan air strike.
His boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel has pointedly failed to back him after a leading newspaper said videos and a military report clearly pointed to civilian casualties at the time when Jung and the army were denying them. The strike, ordered by a German commander and carried out by a US aircraft, was the deadliest operation involving German troops since World War II. It was a pre-emptive measure to stop a possible suicide attack by the Taliban. Sixt-nine fighters were killed but so too were 30 civilians according to the Afghan government. Jung now admits he knew about the attack and the existence of the military report but not the concrete details. Both the head of Germany’s armed forces, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and a senior defence ministry official have been forced to resign. Jung, who is now employment minister, has so far resisted calls for him to quit. Germany’s Defence Commission is to hold a further debate into the incident today.