Investigation Into NATO Airstrike That Killed 91 Afghan Civilians Was Valid, European Court Says

In 2009, a German Colonel in Kunduz ordered the bombing of two hijacked fuel tankers in Afghanistan, killing over 100 people, mostly civilians. The father of two pre-teen children killed by the airstrike challenged the failure of German authorities to properly investigate the incident at the European Court of Human Rights.

European Court of Human Right’s Grand Chamber has dismissed a claim launched by an Afghan man, Abdul Hanan, who challenged the investigation into a NATO airstrike which killed his two sons, along with scores of others.

In 2009, German Colonel Georg Klein, commander of the Kunduz Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), ordered an airstrike against two stationary oil tankers, surrounded by crowds of civilians, that had been commandeered by Afghan insurgents. Over 100 people, mostly civilians, were killed or injured when two US fighter jets carried out the orders of Colonel Klein. Two of the civilian victims were Abdul Bayan and Nesarullah, aged 12 and 8 years old respectively, both sons of Abdul Hanan.

Although an investigation was opened up by German authorities, it was then closed down in April 2010, and no further action was taken. All other German authorities refused to investigate the matter, and no formal apology has ever been offered.

The German government’s position remains that the airstrikes were “permissible under international law and thus justified under criminal law”.

“The Federal Prosecutor General determined that Colonel K. had not…

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