German Diplomat Says U.S Considered Nuking Afghanistan After 9/11
German soldiers in Afghanistan
NEW DELHI: The United States was considering a nuclear strike against Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11 Twin Tower attacks, a senior German diplomat told Spiegel magazine.
Michael Steiner, who is the former German ambassador to India, was the foreign and security policy aide to then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Steiner referred to Germany’s worry that the US would overreact to the attack, in which 3000 people were killed, and a nuclear strike was on the table at the time.
"The papers were written," he said, in reference to the nuclear response being an option. "They had really played through all possibilities."
Steiner further objected to Schröder’s plan of committing “unlimited solidarity” to the US in the aftermath of the attack, stating that no country should get carte blanche from Germany; the Chancellor overruled his objection, he said.
Steiner’s comments have been widely circulated in non English language media, and the diplomat enjoys a positive reputation as a top bureaucrat. Those in India might remember Steiner for a video he released on YouTube to mark the end of his tenure as Germany’s ambassador to India.
The video, embedded below, is titled lebe jetzt, and is a homage to the popular hindi movie ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ starring Shah Rukh Khan. Steiner played the part of Khan, his wife Eliese played the part of Preity Zinta whereas former Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid played the part essayed by Saif Ali Khan.
In a separate development, Germany recently pledged to continue supporting Afghanistan. "Germany will continue to assist Afghanistan not only economically but would play its role to improve the capacity-building of Afghan national security forces," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
Germany had more than 4,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the repercussions of the thirteen year US-led war continue to play out, as a country takes an even more violent turn with casualties with women and children showing the sharpest rise in casualties. Figures for the first six months of 2015 put the year on the path to become the worst year yet in Afghanistan in terms of casualties.
The first six months of 2015 have seen a 13 percent rise in child casualties when compared with the same period last year. The number of women killed and injured has increased by a sharp 23 percent. Total casualties have gone up too, but only by 1 percent when compared to record levels in 2014, with 1591 civilians killed and 3329 injured.