tv DW News LINKTV September 17, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PDT
berlin. the u.s. admits it did kill civilians in the kabul drone strike after the initially claimed the attack in august targeted militants. the pentagon now acknowledges that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. also, who will succeed angela merkel? with just nine days to go until the country heads to the polls, it certainly would suggest change is coming to eu affairs.
i'm phil gayle. welcome to the program. the u.s. military has admitted it killed 10 civilians in a drone strike on kabul on august 29. initially, the pentagon defended the strike as necessary to prevent an attack on american troops by islamic state militants. u.s. central command general mckenzie called the incident a tragic mistake and offered condolences to the families of the victims. >> moreover, i now assess it is unlikely that the -- that those who died were associated with islamic state or isis-k. this strike was taken in the firmest belief it would prevent threat to our forces and
evacuees at the airport, and it was a mistake, and i offer my sincere apologies. as a combatant commander, i am fully responsible for the strike and this tragic outcome. phil: let's get more on this breaking story from dw's washington bureau chief. welcome. how did the u.s. get this so wrong? >> as we are learning right now is that they had been observing this for eight hours, which we would think would be plenty of time. it serves us more proof that the u.s. needs more intelligence. at the time of the strike, they had over 60 different intelligence reports about threats toward the airport. all in all, this is proof that the intelligence, the knowledge the u.s. has about afghanistan is just not enough.
phil: ok, so that is the intelligence. that is where it went wrong, but the pentagon continued to defend this strike despite u.s. media reports last week that the casualties were all civilians. why has it taken them so long to admit what really happened? >> well, this is a horrible accident, a horrible mistake. 10 people got killed. seven children got killed, two toddlers amongst them, and the driver of the car actually was working for the united states, so i'm sure they will really try to be -- how shall i say -- as careful as possible to come out with this news because the biden administration is in so much trouble anyhow regarding the withdrawal from afghanistan. i don't want to say that they wanted to hide it, but i'm sure they really waited as long as possible to come out to break this news today.
phil: as you say, this is just another bad news story to come out of joe biden's deadly decision to unilaterally remove u.s. troops from afghanistan. >> absolutely, and it will make things much harder for him in the future. we also have to keep in mind, this might be just the beginning. as there are individuals left in afghanistan, the united states relies on drone strikes, and if the intelligence is not good enough, we might see more incidences like that, and that makes it even harder for joe biden to defend the withdrawal of afghanistan of this very point. phil: thank you. this airstrike at kabul airport left 10 dead. let's go to kabul.
this news is still relatively new. talk us through what reaction there has been to this admission from the pentagon. >> it is the middle of the night, and as you said, the press conference is n even an hour old, so reactions are few. there have been some on social media, for example. a man that was practically a taliban spokesman was displaying this as proof that it came out that civilians were killed and dozens of hundreds of drone strikes that happened in rural afghanistan were samer similar mistakes. in some cases, he is certainly right. not in all cases, of course, but this is likely -- this kind of reaction is likely what will
come from afghanistan, that a lot of such mistakes have been made in the past. phil: at the time when this airstrike happened, were there report -- were there rumors that the strike had hit the wrong target? >> it was pretty soon, almost immediately after the strike. the word that civilians were killed. also the day of, there were first media reports that already detailed that children were killed, the names of victims. in hindsight, it is always easy. i on the day of the strike or the day after the strike, i received from a trustworthy source that like i ask you members themselves were talking about that one of them was hit, so, yes, there were reports
about civilian casualties. but it was a tragic stake an shows the difficulties with these signature strikes, striking a target which they don't really exactly know who it is just because of some patterns and movements that the military deems suspicious. this is an extremely difficult fine line to walk, and that is what the pentagon tried to explain today. phil: thank you. we will stay in afghanistan with our next story because the taliban have already stripped women and girls in the country of their human rights. big question marks remain over their futurist militants have failed to elaborate on what they have in store for women.
>> the taliban tried to brutally crush dissent in afghanistan. women pushed to go back into burqas, beaten forward -- beaten for daring to demand their rights. the only afghan journalist in brussels has become theoice of her endangered friends. the day after kabul fell, she made international headlines with a heart-wrenching appeal to secretary-general jens stoltenberg. >> thousands of women don't know what is going on for the future and what should happen for them, and they are always asking, what does it mean, 2 years? i would like to ask as woman, please, please, don't recognize
the taliban. >> she makes no apologies for the fact her long career in journalism which brought death rest from the taliban decades ago has now become activism -- which brought death threats from the taliban decades ago. >> if i stay quiet, girls in afghanistan will not forgive me. >> the choices women activists face are stark. we are discussing their identities for their safety as they plan out a nationwide demonstration for later this month. they know the consequences could be deadly. >> yeah, yeah, fight. ok, great.
>> that's my right. >> even being so far away, she cannot completely escape the risks. your own mother has said please stop, you are putting us in danger. this is a terrible choice for you to have to make. >> i know it is not easy to accept, but there's no choice. what should we do? if we stay quiet, then we stay quiet and silent forever. >> she says then she would not be able to forgive herself. phil: that report was produced by dw correspondent teri schultz , who joins us now. tell us how she got on. >> you can see secretary-general stoltenberg was feeling quite
uncomfortable, as anyone would, when faced with so much emotion and heartbreak over the situation. in fact, he said he empathized. he said he also was disappointed, that he understood the hurt and anger and how things were turning out in afghanistan, but he said at the same time, part of his job is to explain that nato never planned to be there forever. the international forces did not plan to be there forever. while they did their best to help afghanistan turn into more of a democratic country that would treat women better, now they had to leave. >> you are still in contact with women in afghanistan. what are they telling you about life under the taliban? >> at have conversations every day with people there, and women journalists are in particular in danger. they are receiving death threats specifically to them and their
families for the work they have been doing, and the women who are work -- you could hear this 20-year-old law student saying, they say they are going to kill us, and i could sy at home or go out on the streets and fight for my rights, and if that is the way i die, so be it. i think we are going to see some more very sad stories, but also some more true courage coming out of afghanistan. phil: exceptional, i suppose, in all meanings of that word. i'm guessing lots of other women have not responded in this defiant way. >> of course. starvation is on the rise in afghanistan, and women need to go out and somehow feed their families. they don't have the option of going out and demonstrating. you saw in my what how the taliban are whipping them,
literally harming them for daring to go out in the streets, and certainly we cannot expect everyone to make that choice. i think that however women decide they need to live their lives, every choice is difficult there right now, so i think that we cannot judge what people feel like they have the ability to do under these circumstances. it is a very, very difficult time for women in afghanistan. phil: thank you for that. some of the other stories making news athis hour, a new united nations rort shows the world is on the path to rising temperatures unless governments make more ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions. south africa's top court has rejected former president jacob zuma's bid to have his 15-month
jail term overturned. he was sentenced in june after refusing to testify at an inquiry. the white house has threatened to impose sanctions against the ethiopian prisoner and other leaders involved in a conflict. just over a week until germany goes to the polls, and the candidates to succeed chancellor merkel are in a tight race. with voters deciding on key issues like the pandemic, climate change, and the economy, the last pre-election poll suggests the vote be close. angela merkel's cdu party is still trailing the social democrats.
the green greens slip further behind, even though their candidate started the campaign with a real chance at the top job. angela merkel's center-right conservative lock -- bloc up a couple of points at 22%. the greens have slipped to 15%. their hope of unseating the big two parties for the first time looks increasingly unlikely. this is the most uncertain election in modern german history and if parties outperform their poll values just a bit, it could have a big impact on who makes up germany's government.
we asked if any of the german parties is anywhere near the 51% they would need for a majority. >> normally, what feels to happen is that one of the larger parties, either the social democrats or conservatives, would cooperate with a smaller party. most of the time, that was taken by the business-friendly free democrats. then the greens came onto the scene, and around the turn-of-the-century, the greens cooperated us junior partner in two governments with the social democrats. nowadays, the party landscape has become so fractured that in recent years, the only majority possible was the grand coalition of the conservatives and social democrats together. that time is over and we are not going to have a coalition with
three parties, that's for sure, and the mathematics, the -- the arithmetic's get very complicatd from there. ill: the last election, it took three months to form a government. are we looking at a similar time this time? >> yes, i think people are anticipating that. it is still possible angela merkel might deliver the new year's address by the end of the year. she might still be in office in an interim form if a government has not been armed by then. it would have to be three parties, and what is decisive is which party is the strongest because that party traditionally is given the first chance at forming a government. if it is the social democrats, that seems likely at the moment. then we might have a left-leaning government.
if it is the conservatives, it is more likely to be a conservative government, but most likely, all parties will include the green party. >> what about the afd? they were a shock entrance in 2017. were they a protest vote, or are they likely to do well again this time? >> it was a protest vote 4 years ago because of the refugee situation. the refugee crisis had developed in the years before that, and that gave this right-wing populist party a very strong push. it was on a roll at that time, and it was a bit of a surprise how well they did. it now looks like they have consolidated their support. they are not doing particularly well in the polls, but they seem to be at around the 10% level they are likely to keep, which makes the situation even more complicated because no one is going to form a government with the afd, so the other parties will have to find some kind of
consensus amongst themselves. : thank you for that. it's very clear. these elections will mark the end of the angela merkel era. in our youtube documentary, "angela merkel: navigating a world in crisis," dw takes stock of her time in office. >> after 16 years, angela merkel's days as german chancellor are numbered. in this 16 years, the world has weathered many crises. when she was sworn in in 2005, merkel could hardly have known how much these events would shape her political actions. >> she is a manager of a situation. >> she is a very thoughtful, kind person. >> angela merkel is a leader. she's not a follower. >> again and again, merkel faced
situations that required top-notch negotiating skills. for instance, the 2008 financial crisis. after it caused the euro and an eu member state, greece, to falter, merkel and the french president, francois hollande, joined forces to bring moscow and kiev to the table. she knows how to listen and second, she can hold herself back. when it came to the war in syria, merkel was powerless, but when millions of refugees spilled into europe as a result, she granted ma of them protection in germany. >> our motto to approaching this must be that we have achieved so much, we can do this." >> everyone was closing their borders to prevent migrants from
injury. she took the bold step of saying i am going to open my borders, and i will allow these people in. she knew she was taking a risk. >> the declaration we can do this was a truly extraordinary political u-turn. it ran counter to much that she had said in previous years, including her question of a possible multicultural society. more importantly, it plunged european migration policy into chaos. >> the time of rising populist voices and nationalism followed. in 2016, the u.k. decided to leave the european union. shortly afterwards, the newly elected u.s. president donald trump put transatlantic relationships to the test. merkel's relationship with
transatlantic values group. in the fight against climate change, the chancellor often acted halfheartedly. the merkel era is ending. with it, a politician is leaving the international stage who preferred to negotiate rather than argue with political opponents and who favored cooperation over confrontation. phil: let's have a look at angela merkel with the u.s. ambassador to germany between 1996 and 1997, spent most of his diplomatic career here in germany. gela merkel has always closely controlled her image, giving only glimpses of her personality. how didou find her as a person? >> perfectly clear and politically confident, tactically brilliant, and yet humble.
dual sites she has, but th really work for different purposes. she deserves probably the moniker of being the leader. she was always standing there trying to solve problems, and she was very effective at doing that. >> she has been called an icon on the internation stage and won also serve accolades -- won all sorts of accolades. not so much here in germany. why is her domestic profile so different from how she is viewed internationall >> she is actually viewed as a reluctant leader, very cautious in what she is doing, and yet, tactically, she believes her party, on the conservative side, is much closer to the greens and as a result violated what was
previously said, that there shall be no party to the right of the cdu, but her moves made it possible, opened the vacuum for the right one party that emerged. phil: do you think that was perhaps her biggest miscalculation polically or were there others in years? >> depends. if you take it domestically, i would say that is probably th most important change from domestic politics. inteationall i think, what is probably the most dficult decision she made, and the most error she made was after the fukushima tsunami, she moved quickly take germany out of nuclear energy.
a country that uses a lot of coal and with the climatehange we now face today, i would argue that probably is more difficult to defend. it is a decision that was made really for domestic purposes and now has an implication certainly in the troubling times of getting rid of co2. i would s that is probably the most difficult decision that she made for the germans to inherit. phil: it is interesting. as you say, her most difficult decision was one of her fastest. she is renowned for sitting on things, waiting to see how it will play out, making the calculations, and then deciding, but not in this case.
>>o, i think you are rht. she has managed very, very well. the financial crisis kept the euro together, dealing with greece and german banks as well, but managing between german interests and european interests , and if you look at the most important decision she made, it was one that goes to the heart of her background as the daughter o a german minister and the german constitution, which calls for the respective human dignity. during the civil- the syrian civil war, when she accepted one million refugees into germany and that yes, we can do this, much to the chagrin of many people in germany, butlso much
to be weoming. in my neighborhood, there was a great welcoming. she ally touched both parts of at makes germans german, and that is a respect f human beings. phil: thank you so much, former u.s. ambassador to germany. just a reminder -- our top story at this hour, the pentagon says a drone strike last month in afghanistan killed multiple civilians and not islamic state civilians, as was originally claimed. the attack was carried out after a terror attack in kabul. the u.s. army now says the strike was a tragic mistake. we are back in just a moment with "the day." have a good day. ♪
>> welcome live from paris. the diplomatic fallout continues from australia's move to scrap a defense deal with france. the french foreign affairs minister recalling the ambassadors of australia and the united states. the tragic mistake. the united states admits it targeted the wrong man in a drone strike that killed 10 afghan civilians in kabul last month. another blow for russia's opposition as voting gets underway in parliamentary polls. apple taking