German unit upset at release of Afghan suspect

Germany is placing increasing trust in Afghan authorities to gradually hand over responsibilities.

Berlin: Germany`s elite KSK commando unit issued a rare statement on Friday to signal its disapproval over the release of an Afghan it had detained for taking part in a deadly raid on German troops.

The development comes at an awkward time for Germany, which as part of the NATO force combating the Taliban, is placing increasing trust in Afghan authorities in a "partnering" drive to gradually hand over security responsibilities.

The commandos, along with Afghan forces, detained Mohammed Naim in March on suspicion of taking part in an ambush on German troops a year earlier that had left three soldiers dead and several others severely wounded after an hours-long firefight.

Naim was handed over to authorities in Kabul, where the KSK said he admitted to having been in a battle near the German base in Kundus.

"He is said to have been released by investigating prosecutors in early June for lack of direct proof of his participation in the act," the KSK said. The commando unit operates in secret and rarely comments to the public.

On Friday, Germany`s mass-selling Bild newspaper ran a photo of a burned-out German armoured car being salvaged by a dozen men including one, wearing a broad smile, it says is Naim, who has since disappeared.

"He must have powerful friends in Kabul," the paper quoted an unnamed German officer as saying.

Bureau Report

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