Recently released pictures of troops desecrating Afghan graves have rocked the “grand coalition” government in Germany.
The grisly photos show German troops posing with the skulls of Afghans. One picture is of a soldier sitting on a pile of bones discovered in a graveyard outside the capital Kabul.
Helmut Scholtz of the opposition Left Party (PDS) told Socialist Worker that the revelations have shocked the country.
He said, “The German ministry of defence said that it was an isolated incident, and does not reflect the behaviour of German troops.
“But we have warned that using German troops in military adventures abroad is poisoning the country’s thinking.
“Now we are beginning to see the same scandals that have engulfed US troops in Iraq are coming home.”
Germany is governed by a grand coalition of the conservative parties and the Social Democrats (SPD) - the equivalent of New Labour.
The coalition has embarked on an ambitious program to expand Germany’s military presence around the world.
Around 20 soldiers have been questioned over the photos, and others that have not been published.
Scholtz said, “Although the scandal has not radically altered German public opinion of our involvement in Afghanistan, it has confirmed the fears of many people that we are adding to the spiral of violence in these regions.
“We are demanding the withdrawal of German troops as a precondition for ending the violence in Afghanistan.”
Germany currently has 2,800 soldiers in Afghanistan and has sent warships to patrol Lebanese coast as part of United Nations forces.
Canadian attack in Afghanistan
Nato attacked villages in the Panjwai district west of Kandahar as locals marked the end of Ramadan on 24 October. Up to 90 villagers were killed when their homes, schools and other buildings were flattened. According to Nato, Canadian soldiers killed 48 Taliban fighters who were using civilians as human shields. Later they admitted that they had in fact bombarded the villages with mortars, artillery and air strikes in a night raid. The truth of the massacre emerged after local journalists and officials launched an investigation.