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Afghan airstrike

Kyle JamesDecember 1, 2009

Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed Germany's regret for its involvement in the air attack that killed 142 at Kunduz. The affair, and how it was handled, are to come under the microscope, she has promised.

Merkel looking thoughtful as she speaks
Angela Merkel said that Germany should shoulder the blameImage: DW

Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed regret on Germany's behalf for a deadly airstrike that killed civilians in Afghanistan.

Merkel said on Tuesday that questions remained about the air assault on September 4, which killed up to 142 people according to the UN.

She added that, as a country, Germany also took responsibility for the deaths of civilians who were caught up in the assault.

"Firstly, everything needs to be completely cleared up. Secondly, we need to make very clear, and I have done this, that we regret this and that Germany takes responsibility," she said.

The government's defense committee will meet on Wednesday to look at the airstrike and how it was handled.

Revelations that the government knew more about civilian deaths than it first acknowledged have been a thorn in the side for the chancellor, who spoke after a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The attack on two fuel tanks was ordered by a German colonel, who feared that they would be used in a Taliban attack on his troops.

Report indicated casualties

Franz Josef Jung, defense minister at the time of the attack, resigned on Friday from a newer post as labor minister over the matter.

German troops in armoured vehicles in Kunduz
There were fears that German troops were under threatImage: picture alliance / dpa

Germany's military chief of staff, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and a former deputy defense minister also stepped down.

Members of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Free Democrats (FDP) are calling for a full parliamentary investigation.

Merkel's FDP allies requested a parliamentary investigation to examine what former Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier knew about the strike. Steinmeier, who is now leader of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), was Merkel's deputy in the CDU's coalition with the SPD before the latest general election.


Editor: Kyle James