Germany has defended a decision to order an air strike in an area of northern Afghanistan that resulted in the loss of around ninety civilian lives.
At least ninety people, mostly civilian, were killed and scores of others injured on Friday after US warplanes targeted fuel tankers on orders of a German commander in the northern Kunduz province.
NATO said the air raid had targeted two fuel tankers allegedly hijacked by Taliban linked militants.
The incident drew international condemnation and world leaders called for a NATO probe into the air strike.
The German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung on Sunday in comments to German broadcasters defended the air raid, saying the pro-Taliban militant’s possession of fuel tankers ‘posed threats’ to its soldiers.
“If there were civilian causalities or injuries, of course we deeply regret that. At the same time, it was clear that our soldiers were in danger.”
“Consequently, I stand clearly behind our commander’s decision” to order the air strike.
Meanwhile, the lethal incident has turned into an inner-NATO tussle with both the German and US officials already appearing to be trying to deflect blame.
The German press has blamed Berlin for the attack as it ordered US fighter jets to run the operation, according to Euro news.
The deadly air raids might influence German electorates’ opinion in the upcoming national election, European media outlets have also suggested.
A recent opinion poll showed that around 65 percent of Germans have called for a speedy return of their soldiers from Afghanistan.