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Archive for Monday, September 7, 2009

U.S.-German rift emerges over deaths

September 7, 2009

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— An airstrike by U.S. fighter jets that appears to have killed Afghan civilians could turn into a major dispute for NATO allies Germany and the United States, as tensions began rising between them Sunday over Germany’s role in ordering the attack.

Afghan officials say up to 70 people were killed in the early morning airstrike Friday in the northern province of Kunduz after Taliban militants stole two tanker trucks of fuel and villagers gathered to siphon off gas.

Afghan and NATO investigations are just beginning, but both German and U.S. officials already appeared to be trying to deflect blame.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said the Taliban’s possession of the two tankers “posed an acute threat to our soldiers.” German officials have said the tankers might have been used as suicide bombs.

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