As the German parliament begins a probe into civilian deaths after a fatal bombing of fuel trucks in Afghanistan, intelligence sources say there were plans to attack German troops in Kunduz.
The Taliban have raised the intensity of their attacks in Afghanistan
The deputy chairman of the German parliament's Kunduz inquiry committee, Karl Lamers, told the German television news network NTV on Wednesday that in the weeks before the controversial order to call in a NATO airstrike against the hijacked fuel trucks there had been "announcements" by Taliban insurgents that an attack was being planned against German armed forces stationed in Afghanistan's northeastern region.
"It was clear that a great danger existed for the German military compound," Lamers said.
According to the German news agency DPA, Colonel Georg Klein, the German officer embroiled in the controversy for calling in the air strike, did so under the assumption that an attack by Taliban insurgents was imminent.
Intelligence reports warned of a plot
DPA has reported that the German Intelligence Agency (BND) and Bundeswehr Special Forces (KSK) had uncovered a three-phase plot by the Taliban for attacking German troops in Kunduz.
Cololnel Klein suspected that Taliban insurgents were behind the seizure of the fuel trucks
Colonel Klein assumed on the fateful night of September 3 that the hijacking of the fuel trucks near Kunduz was part of this plan.
Omid Nouripour, a German Green party defense expert, told NTV that he would not have liked "to be in Colonel Klein's shoes that night."
"We know that he was under inhuman pressure, and that's why this is not about judging him, but about judging the mistakes that he made," Nouripour said, "so that disasters like this do not happen again."
The parliamentary commissioner for the German armed forces, Reinhold Robbe, said most Germans are not aware that their troops in Afghanistan "were putting their lives on the line every day and just glad when they come back alive and healthy from a patrol."
The air strike called in by Colonel Klein resulted in the deaths or injury of at least 142 people, including civilians.