German court hears bid to stop Tornados

18th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 April 2007, Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) - Germany's top court Wednesday began hearing a bid by the opposition Left Party to stop the deployment of German surveillance warplanes in Afghanistan. The six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft have been in action since Sunday, helping to pinpoint targets for NATO-led ground forces fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Parliament authorized their deployment on March 9, but the Left Party argues the legislature should not have have done so because of restrictio

18 April 2007

Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) - Germany's top court Wednesday began hearing a bid by the opposition Left Party to stop the deployment of German surveillance warplanes in Afghanistan.

The six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft have been in action since Sunday, helping to pinpoint targets for NATO-led ground forces fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Parliament authorized their deployment on March 9, but the Left Party argues the legislature should not have have done so because of restrictions imposed on the German military under the constitution.

Left Party leader Oskar Lafontaine called parliament's action a violation of the constitution, but Foreign Ministry official Reinhard Silberberg said the deployment had "a sound constitutional basis."

The Federal Constitutional Court last month refused to grant Lafontaine's party an injunction halting the deployment and set an oral hearing for Wednesday.

Parliament's mandate explicitly precludes German participation in combat missions, but fears have grown that German soldiers will be involved in the increasingly heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan.

Because the Tornados will be relaying coordinates for potential bombing targets, some people are worried that Germany could become a party to attacks that result in civilian deaths.

Germany currently has around 3,000 troops stationed with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Most of them are confined to the relatively peaceful north where they form part of Provincial Reconstruction Teams building up infrastructure, schools and other institutions.

DPA

Subject: German news

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