KSK affair: Kramp-Karrenbauer comes under pressure

Bundeswehr KSK affair: Kramp-Karrenbauer comes under pressure

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) comes to the special meeting of the Defense Committee to reform the Special Forces Command (KSK) of the Bundeswehr. Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka / dpa

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Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer has decided to clean up with a hard hand after the series of scandals at the KSK. A new ammunition affair is now getting them into trouble themselves.

In the ammunition affair with the Bundeswehr Special Forces Command (KSK), the Greens and FDP doubt the credibility of Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU).

You need "a lot of imagination" to believe the minister that she only learned of the ammunition collection campaign, which is the focus of the affair, months later, said the Greens defense expert Tobias Lindner before a special meeting of the defense committee on the subject of the "world" . "If it turns out that Kramp-Karrenbauer did not tell the truth and yet knew about the amnesty of ammunition, then her days as Minister of Defense are numbered."

The FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann also doubted the statements of Kramp-Karrenbauer. “Either she has no control over the ministry and is cut off from important information, or she is simply not telling the truth. The KSK must be better controlled in any case, ”she said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer wanted to answer questions from the committee for four hours on Monday afternoon. The focus is on the controversial collection campaign by the KSK elite troop in spring 2020, in which soldiers were able to return ammunition with impunity that had previously been stolen or not returned after target practice. Therefore, there are both official and public prosecutor investigations underway against KSK commander Markus Kreitmayr. The brigadier general remained in office initially.

According to the Bundeswehr, more than 40.000 rounds of ammunition were collected during the action. Kramp-Karrenbauer is said to have found out about this only months later, according to press reports in February.

Strack-Zimmermann accused the Bundeswehr leadership of "blatant failure" and brought the establishment of an investigative committee into play. "The fog is not clearing, it is getting thicker," said the chairwoman of the FDP parliamentary group in the defense committee. "If we weren't so close to a federal election now, the time would have come to set up a committee of inquiry." The time until the election in September is too short for that. But you have to keep it open how you want to deal with the issue in the coming legislative period.

What is explosive about the affair is that Brigadier General Kreitmayr is playing a key role in the reform of the KSK, which Kramp-Karrenbauer initiated last year after several right-wing extremist incidents in the elite troops. According to a recently published interim report, 60 of the 39 reform steps have now been implemented. The reorganization of the troops was "in fact equivalent to a realignment," said Inspector General Eberhard Zorn at the presentation of the report.