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Court lets Germany off hook over deadly airstrike on Afghan tanker

More than a decade after an airstrike that left about 100 people dead in Afghanistan, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that German judicial authorities pursued the matter with enough vigour.

Strasbourg, 16 February 2021 (dpa/MIA) – More than a decade after an airstrike that left about 100 people dead in Afghanistan, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that German judicial authorities pursued the matter with enough vigour.

The Strasbourg court’s decision on the case, brought by an Afghan father who accused Germany of human rights violations for ordering the strike, is final and cannot be appealed.

The man lost both of his sons, aged 8 and 12, in the attack in Kunduz on September 4, 2009.

A German commander had ordered US fighters to destroy two fuel tankers that had been sighted after they were stolen in southern Afghanistan, resulting in a blast.

The officer who made the call, Georg Klein, had worried that militants would use the lorries as mobile bombs.

It was initially reported that most of the dead were Taliban fighters. However, it later emerged that many victims were civilians who had gathered in the hopes of siphoning some fuel for personal use.

An investigation was carried out into Klein in Germany. Separately, family members of the victims have demanded damages in German courts, but have been routinely rejected, most recently in December.

At the time, the court ruled that it has never been found that Klein acted improperly; Nor does German law allow for lawsuits by individuals against a foreign country.

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